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At the nursing home where I work, there are three CNAs for 43 patients, and one nurse to do the medications, charting and treatments. Is there a nurse-to-patient ratio for New Hampshire?

Friday November 30, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I work at a nursing home, where the patients have some behavior issues, and the majority have dementia and are in wheelchairs. Most of the time there are three CNAs for 43 patients, and one nurse to do the medications, charting and treatments. Is there a nurse-to-patient ratio for New Hampshire?

Needs Help in New Hampshire

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs Help in New Hampshire,

Your situation sounds challenging to say the least. Very few states have nurse-to-patient ratios for long-term care. This report shows that New Hampshire has no specific ratio requirements: http://www.hpm.umn.edu/nhregsplus/NH%20Regs%20by%20Topic/Topic%20Nursing%20Services%20-%20Staffing%20Ratios.html.

To find out whether anything has changed since this report was issued, or what other facilities in your area are doing, check with the New Hampshire Nurses Association (www.nhnurses.org) and the National Association of Directors of Nursing in Long Term Care (www.nadonna.org) (this association is for all nurses who work in long-term care) whether or not you are a member of either.

It is very important for you, and really any nurse, to be active in nursing associations in order to stay abreast of trends, issues and information, and to advocate for your profession and specialty.

Have you talked directly to your supervisor about staffing issues? You can offer to survey area nursing homes to see what type of staffing they have. Here is a staffing toolkit on the NHNA website you may find helpful going forward: http://www.nhnurses.org/Especially-for-You/NurseStaffingToolkit.aspx.

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.