Number 1 AW
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has implemented a policy initiative to assist healthcare associations in America to have safe staffing numbers. Accurate nurse to patient ratios is imperative to keep patients and staff safe. Achieving the right staffing levels has shown reduction in relative risk such as falls, infection, and medication errors (American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019). The ANA and Avalere teamed up to explore how to achieve the best possible outcomes (American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019). Multiple things must be considered when making staffing plans such as the patient’s acuity, the amount of patient turnover on the unit, resource availability, and experience of the staff (American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019).
To assist in formulating and implementing a policy agenda the ANA collaborates with state nurses and hospital associations as well as federal lawmakers to work towards safe staffing levels(American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019). The ANA works to provide the greatest evidence-based policies and advocate for nurses and patients. In 1999 the ANA produced the Principles of Nurse Staffing which was updated in 2012 and again in 2017 (Pearce et al., 2018). Inadequate staffing is an ongoing issue in an ever-changing environment. The current federal regulation for staffing and delivery of care (42CFR 482.23(b)) is vague and leaves things undefined. The Registered Nurse Staffing Act can help states make their own decisions for the best outcome for them.
The ANA encourages the state staffing law in which the nurses create specific staffing plans for each unit rather than legislators directing the ratios (American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019). The current outcomes of this initiative shows that only 15 states have started new staffing laws or regulations and only 8 of these states’ hospitals require nurse driven ratios (American Nurse Association [ANA], 2019).
Number 2: MK
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the leading advocate for nurses, patients, and policy changes that improve the quality of healthcare provided by nurses as well as working environments for nurses. For this discussion, the hot topic of workplace violence will set the stage. Verbal and physical violence against healthcare workers has become a global phenomenon, urgent measures must be implemented to protect workers on the job, and failure to do so will negatively affect the entire healthcare system (Vento et al., 2020). Workplace violence is highly prevalent in healthcare settings, causing harm to nurses and other providers which undermines the quality of care (Stand, 2021).
The ANA was on the frontlines with the passing of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act [H.R. 1309] which passed the house in 2019 and [H.R. 1195] which passed the house April 16th, 2021. This bill would require Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop enforceable standards requiring employers to implement a workplace violence prevention plan that includes investigating incidents, keeping records, educating/training employees of the hazards/risks, and prohibiting acts of discrimination/retaliation for reporting incidents (Congress.gov, 2021). Unfortunately, the Senate has not passed the vote [S. 851], but ANA will be working with bill sponsors to reintroduce the legislation with the hopeful passage in both chambers and ultimately signed into law by President Biden this Congress (ANA, 2021).
In 2016, OSHA developed guidelines for preventing workplace violence, but guidelines are mere suggestions, not enforceable standards. General OSHA authority is not enough when guidelines lack enforcement giving employers the option to develop a plan on a voluntary basis. ANA prioritizes the development of enforceable federal standards and supports federal legislation to require OSHA to develop these standards based on their guidelines (American Nurses Association, 2021).
The ANA has developed its own professional panel to increase awareness and develop policy by launching the #EndNurseAbuse initiative. There are many resources available on this site for nurses to join forces against workplace violence. There are links to become active members, write letters to lawmakers, and OSHA sites that assist in recognizing hazards, reporting incidents, and contacting ANA advocates. Kudos to the ANA for protecting nurses, pushing for policy change, and fighting to end workplace violence against healthcare workers once and for all.