Mandatory Minimum Staffing

Mandatory Minimum Staffing
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Mandatory Minimum Staffing
Staffing is an essential component in organizations operating in various sectors of the
economy, including the healthcare industry. Moreover, staffing laws and regulations, including
the mandatory minimum requirements, may differ across industries or regions. Staffing refers to
the act of ensuring that an organization has an adequate supply of employees with the right skills
at all times (Department for Professional Employees, 2013). The concept plays a critical role in
the performance of healthcare organizations as it helps in the recruitment and management of
healthcare professionals such as nurses to promote their efficiency and overall output. This study
focuses on the mandatory minimum requirements in nursing in Connecticut and the measures
taken by the federal and local government to address staffing issues in the region. The study also
analyzes the contributions of key players in a state bill proposal and the steps taken to implement
the bill once it becomes law.
Nursing is a sensitive and demanding as it involves saving lives and maintaining the
overall well-being of individuals. The primary objective of nurses is to promote patient safety by
protecting them from harm during the care administration process. Additionally, nurses have the
responsibility of helping patients recover from their illnesses and enhancing independence during
the recovery process. Moreover, nursing also entails promoting awareness about critical health
issues and strengthening healthy living and behavior change in communities through measures
such as health education and surveillance. Therefore, nurses must be flexible to accommodate
the demands of their patients and the public. However, there is a limit to what an individual
nurse can do, especially if she/he works long hours without rest. As a result, nurses should work
in shifts to avoid burnout and fatigue. High levels of burnout among nurses can give rise to cases
of medical errors that result in incidences of hospital-acquired infections among patients
(Hall, Johnson, Watt, Tsipa, & O’Connor, 2016). Moreover, fatigue may interfere with the
ability of nurses to think critically and make effective decisions that can lead to positive health
outcomes. For instance, nurses who have worked for extended periods without enough rest may
fail to notice critical patient information such as current medication and allergies. Such a mistake
can lead to administration of the wrong drug that may cause allergic reactions in patients; hence
lowering the quality of care services.
Effective staffing policies can help in enhancing public health outcomes within a region.
By having regulations such as the mandatory minimum requirements in place, healthcare
organizations will be able to offer quality services and promote patient safety (Department for
Professional Employees, 2013). Additionally, with adequate nurses, healthcare organizations can
design a work routine that gives room for rest; hence reducing the rates of nurse burnout and
fatigue. This will also help in reducing medical errors and the occurrence of nosocomial
The mandatory minimum requirements entail having the right number of staff at all times
within a healthcare facility. When a hospital is adequately staffed, all the patients will receive
efficient care services including monitoring, diagnosis, and administration of treatments
(Department for Professional Employees, 2013). Moreover, the regulation also requires hospitals
to have qualified nurses who have the necessary skills to take care of patients with various health
conditions. Healthcare organizations can ensure that they are staffed with qualified personnel by
setting qualification criteria and hiring individuals who have undergone adequate training and
passed all the nursing examinations. Having qualified nurses also promotes patient safety, which
is the basis of nursing, as it reduces the risks of medical errors such as wrong diagnosis or poor
selection of treatment options.
Strategic Steps to Address the Issue
Like other regions in the United States, Connecticut is also fighting the issue of nurse
shortage which has affected various hospitals and healthcare facilities, including nursing homes.
As a result of population growth, the demand for nurses has increased over the year.
Unfortunately, in as much as many nurses graduate every year, the number still does not meet the
demand for nurses in hospitals in the region (Schott, 2018). The issue of nurse shortages is not
new to many states. For instance, in 2015, Connecticut State passed a bill that requires all
hospitals licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to submit annual reports of their
staffing plans as a measure of ensuring that the region’s hospitals provide adequate and quality
healthcare services to the residents (Health Law Pulse, 2015).
The components of the nursing plan report include; the number of registered nurses and
other personnel providing direct care to patients, methods of determining and adjusting direct
patient care staffing levels, minimum professional skills mix for each care unit, and policies
concerning temporary and traveling nurses (Health Law Pulse, 2015). Some hospitals in the
region have also resorted to expanding their recruitment and development programs and offering
competitive salaries to attract individuals to the field (Schott, 2018). However, these measures
have not given a complete solution to the problem. Below is a discussion of how local and
federal strategies that can help end the problem of nurse shortage in Connecticut.
Local /State Government Strategies
Apart from the population growth, other factors that contribute to nursing shortages
include enrollment of few people in the nursing profession, unattractive wages, and poor
working conditions (Twigg & McCullough, 2013). Therefore, one of the methods that the state
and local governments can use to solve the issue of nurse shortages in the local hospitals is to
subsidize nursing courses to encourage more students to join the nursing field. Through this
strategy, the local government will create career opportunities for Connecticut students who are
interested in studying nursing but cannot afford the tuition, fees such as those from low-income
Additionally, the local government can also design a training program for the existing
care providers to enhance their skills and improve their performance. After implementing these
strategies, the local government can then set a minimum staffing requirement for all healthcare
facilities within its boundaries by defining a standard patient-nurse ratio. Additionally, to ensure
that the minimum staffing levels are maintained in all healthcare facilities, the local government
can revise the current minimum wage and terms of employment and incorporate some of the
grievances that are raised by the nurses’ association. This approach will help in reducing the rate
of nurses’ turnover in state and local hospitals (Flinkman, Isopahkala-Bouret, &
Salanterä, 2013).
Federal Government Strategies
The proposed strategies for the local/state governments require the support of the federal
government for successful implementation. For instance, to provide subsidies and improve the
wages of nurses, the local government will need additional funds. Since the local government has
many projects to finance using limited funds, the administrators can ask for an increase in the
proportion of funds allocated to the education sector by the national government. The increase in
the funds allocated to the state will also enable the local government to organize training
programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals with the aim of improving public health
outcomes. Also, since the issue of nurse shortage affects several states across the country, the
federal government can propose a bill that introduces health-related courses in middle schools to
create interest among in the nursing profession among students at an early age. The strategy will
increase the number of nurses in the country. Moreover, since nurses can work in different states
as long as they have passed the required examination, the increase in the number of students
enrolled in nursing colleges will help reduce nurse shortages in the US.
Key Players
The key players in the implementation of the minimum staffing requirements bill include;
government officials, educational institutions, nursing associations, and nurse leaders. The
government officials such as the representative of the Congress and the Department of Health
have the responsibility of introducing the proposed changes to the Congress and pushing for their
approval. Educational institutions play a significant role as they are charged with training nurse
students to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary for handling patients with
different conditions. Finally, nursing associations and nurse leaders can negotiate with the
government for better terms of employment and offer training and development services for
Steps to Introduce the Bill
The bill on minimum staffing requirements for hospitals in Connecticut will go through
the normal legislative process before it becomes law. The first step will be to put the proposals in
writing and presenting it to the house when in session through the state's congress representative,
who will also try to gather support from members of the house (American Government, 2018).
After that, the bill will then be analyzed by the committee and voted by the members of the
Congress. If it gunners enough votes, it will be sent to the Senate and finally to the president for
signing (American Government, 2018). Once signed, the new regulation will govern the
healthcare facilities at both local and national levels.
Steps to Implement the Bill
The passage of the bill into law will give the federal government the mandate to increase
the proportion of funds allocated to the education sector for the various states, including
Connecticut. Once the local government has the additional finances, it can then implement the
proposals such as subsidizing fees for students who are taking nursing courses at various levels
of education and financing training programs for nurses. After a few years, the number of
qualified nurses will grow, and this will enable the state government to implement minimum
staffing requirements for healthcare organizations successfully and maintain a constant nurse-
patient ratio; hence improve the quality of care services in the region.
American Government. (2018). How a Bill Becomes a Law []. Retrieved from
Department for Professional Employees. (2013). Safe Staffing Ratios: Benefiting Nurses and
Patients. Retrieved from
Flinkman, M., Isopahkala-Bouret, U., & Salanterä, S. (2013). Young Registered Nurses'
Intention to Leave the Profession and Professional Turnover in Early Career: A
Qualitative Case Study. Retrieved from
Hall, L. H., Johnson, J., Watt, I., Tsipa, A., & O’Connor, D. B. (2016, July 8). Healthcare Staff
Wellbeing, Burnout, and Patient Safety: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from
Health Law Pulse. (2015). Connecticut Enacts New Legislation Concerning Telehealth, Nurse
Staffing Level Reports, and Other Health Care-Related Issues. Retrieved from
Schott, P. (2018, March 9). Connecticut hospitals aim to tackle nursing shortages. Retrieved
Twigg, D., & McCullough, K. (2013). Nurse retention: A review of strategies to create and
enhance positive practice environments in clinical settings. Retrieved from

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