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I enjoyed reading Ian Peate's editorial "Letter from the UK: The State of Art" (September, 2012).* I'd love to provide more care for those at-risk populations he speaks of, and I'm sure many other nurses would as well. However, as you get your house in order, remember a house isn't built by one nurse alone. We must look at the system in which we work.
I've seen patient/nurse ratios of 30:1 and higher in long-term care. This is a system problem. That one RN can be one of the best, but if stretched to his or her limit to maximize profits, then of course outcomes will be poor. Even in the ICU I've recently seen ratios of 3:1 or 4:1 because of new staffing models, despite research that shows we shouldn't operate that way.
As nurses we need to continue to educate the public about the essential role nurses play in our communities. Cutting corners to save money shouldn't be an option within our profession.
The article "Instituting Quiet Hour Improves Patient Satisfaction" (April, 2012)* was an interesting read. The author mentioned the importance of restful days, but I believe that sleep disturbances are even more frequent on the late 3-to-11 and 11-to-7 shifts. These disturbances are caused by nighttime lighting. Although quelling noise is helpful, patients won't get a good night's sleep if nurses on these shifts aren't addressing the lighting issue.
"Nurses and Body Art: What's Your Perception?" (June, 2012)* raised some interesting issues. In my practice, I've witnessed how personal appearance can affect the patient, either positively or negatively. This makes the display of tattoos a very relevant topic for nursing leaders, who are responsible for helping to ensure positive patient outcomes, including patient satisfaction. In an age where satisfaction equals dollar signs, this isn't a subject to be taken lightly.
Although society seems to have become more accepting of tattoos, older generations may not be. With more baby boomers filling hospital beds, nurses should take into consideration what their appearance may (rightly or wrongly) say about them. If they haven't already, nurse leaders may benefit from considering a policy regarding what's suitable and, most important, what's professional, within their organizations.
-WILLIAM HARRIS, BSN, RN, RN-BC
Grand Junction, Colo.
-ANNETTE RUGGIERO, RETIRED RN
-MELISSA CARROLL, BSN, RN
* Individual subscribers can access articles free online at http://www.nursing2012.com. [Context Link]
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