Nurses Are the Experts on the Ratio Question

A Nov. 6 article, “Nurse Ratio Checks Rarely Done,” explored the fact that few hospitals are inspected in order to verify that they are in compliance with the currently mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. The article states that not all ratios are backed by conclusive, scientific evidence, but that some, such as those for pediatric units, were guided by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation. It also says that other areas, such as medical/surgical units, do not have similar recommendations to guide them. I beg to differ.

Nursing research does indeed provide scientific support for the guidelines related to ratios, and this research is more relevant than that provided by physicians’ groups. Nurses are right there at the bedside, 24/7. Please listen to their guidance, backed not only by scientific research but by years and years of experience and knowledge of how we can safely care for our patients.

Linda L. Mann RN




Regarding news that the ratio of six patients to one nurse in medical/surgical units may be relaxed, as well as that the 5-1 ratio due in January may be delayed, many don’t realize that the law is interpreted as six patients per license. That means a team of one licensed vocational nurse and one registered nurse working together have 12 patients.

The RN is ultimately responsible for all 12, too many for our sick patients. The hospitals say the added nurses cost too much. Fewer patients mean better care. We get what we pay for.

Doris Gilbert RN

Los Angeles