The reliance on formal education towards acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills for varied sectors including healthcare informs recommendations made towards enhancing healthcare provision. For instance, the 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on the future of nursing indicates a recommendation for 80 percent of nurses to have a BSN (Baccalaureate-Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree by 2020 (IOM, 2011). The reasoning is that associated competencies enhances overall patient care outcomes which means that high RN (Registered Nurse)-patient ratio or BSN-Prepared RN-patient ratio will enhance patient care outcomes.

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Dunham-Taylor & Pinczuk (2014) affirms the importance of greater nursing expertise and its contribution to positive patient care outcomes but acknowledges that nurse staffing ratios are inadequate in provision of quality patient care. Though evaluating RN-patient ratio and BSN-patient ratio is easy (division of number of patients with that of nurses), it is not easy for an average person to find out these ratios in specific hospitals as they are usually not advertised. Incidentally, TS (2015) indicates ‘that higher nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals can decrease nurse injury rates by one-third’, which is among other positive patient outcomes.

Nonetheless, even though new technologies may avail pertinent information about nurses and patients, the actual numbers would be concealed in relation to safeguarding patient and hospital information. This latter part explains why an average person would not easily find out about RN/BSN-patient ratios of hospitals especially at a time when privacy and security concerns tied to technology utilization are quite high. As such, the implication is that lack of these information may be a hindrance to patients and families, who need to be assured of excellent patient quality, especially when the number of patients under caregivers and the latter’s professional credentials, are perceived as influential in quality patient care provision. The American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are some of the entities that can change this situation. They can advocate for provision of such information as a way of reassuring patients and their families as well as relevant regulatory bodies in relation maintenance of quality patient care provision by healthcare organizations.

  • Dunham-Taylor, J. & Pinczuk, J. Z. (2014). Financial management for nurse managers.
    Merging the heart with the dollar. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
  • The Institute of Medicine (2011). The future of nursing: Focus on education. The National
    Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Retrieved from
  • TS. (2015). Higher Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Reduces Injuries. Professional Safety, 60(7), 17.