Alternative Approaches to Ensuring Adequate Nurse Staffing: The Effect of State Legislation on Hospital Nurse Staffing

Authors: Xinxin Han, PhD | Patricia Pittman, PhD | Burt Barnow, PhD

Topics: Health Workforce Journal Supplement, Nursing, Policy, Staffing

Research Center: GW Health Workforce Research Center

October 1, 2021

Studies have shown that sufficient nurse staffing is essential for the delivery of quality care and safe working conditions that are associated with better patient outcomes. As of 2020, 14 states had legislation to increase nurse staffing in hospitals. The legislation includes 3 main approaches: 1.) mandating minimum nurse staffing ratios in hospitals; 2.) mandating a staffing committee primarily comprised of registered nurses (RNs); and 3.) mandating public reporting of nurse staffing levels.

This article addresses whether alternative legislative approaches are effective in motivating hospitals to increase nurse staffing.

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