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Poll: Majority of nurses say ward patient to RN ratios are unsafe


Almost three quarters of Nursing Times readers who answered a snap poll last week do not think the patient to registered nurse ratio on their ward is safe.

In our online Poll of the Week 28% answered “yes”, when asked whether the patient to RN ratio on their ward was safe, but 72% answered “no”.

Our question follows findings from a study by the National Nurse Research Unit, in which 86% of hospital nurses had to leave care undone on their last shift because of staffing shortages.

The number of patients per nurse on duty was significantly linked with the incidence of unfinished care by nurses, or “missed care”. Wards should have seven patients or less per registered nurse to avoid missing vital care, the researchers found.

Poll 7 Aug 2013

Nursing Times polls readers each week on a topical question related to nursing in the news. Check to answer the current question:

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Steve Ford

    Were you recruited from the murky bottom of the tabloid press ?

    There are no numbers !

    How many voted ?

    Percentages presented in isolation mean nothing !

    Trash journalism at its best !

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  • Steve Ford

    Dear Jenny

    Thanks for your feedback.

    The weekly poll result is intended to be a short story that acts as a point of interest for those readers that voted, rather than as a more scientific survey backed with figures.

    However, I will look into whether it is possible to supply the data in future.


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  • Its not just on hospital wards where numbers count

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  • Healthcare is suffering horribly.
    Nurses simply cannot do their jobs without proper resources. Resources include proper safe staffing! There also needs to be excellent management to assure the excellent staff does not become complacent - it does happen.
    There is also a great deal of hidden bullying -nurse on nurse. It's such an insidious process that often is not seen by management. Sometimes they seem to ignore it because they are unable or unwillingly to approach the problems.
    No one wants to be the whistle blower or complain for retaliation if found out it will be horrendous. If not properly dealt with and these behaviors are not stopped it becomes more covert behaviors.
    Bullies exist in every workplace. Nursing is no different. Bullies tend to be lazy and find the best way to slough off while talking a good show and impressing management.
    Staff has to trust management has their best interests at heart and doesn't play favorites with staff.
    It's unfortunate but these things exist more frequently than known or admitted. As an A/E nurse for over 25 yrs- I know it and feel it. It's horrid and demoralizing. We are still here because we are doing what we can do for our patients. In short we love what we do more in theory than in real life. But we keep going back because it is what we do.
    Excellent management is key. Absolutely key.
    Thank you for your time.

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  • What's the point in conducting (and paying a lot of money) research that proves once again that we need more RNs on the wards if it's going to be ignored. How much more evidence to these people need.
    If it's recommended there are a maximum of 8 patients per RN then why are some wards still running on 1-10 or 1-15.

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  • Steve Ford

    I note that the latest Poll has a grand total of 36 votes as of now!

    When the "results" are converted into a pi chart will you please ensure that a note is attached indicating the total idiocy of claiming the chart indicates anything apart from a need to fill space in a publication which is rapidly assuming the status of a comic.

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