|Nurses from all over the country gathered under cloudy skies and congregated around a simple speaker stand with flags to either side stating, “Safe Nursing Ratios Save Lives.”
Of all of the problems nursing has—bullying, burnout, and nurses leaving the profession—why are all of these people focusing on ratios? It is because ratios affect patient safety the most, and nurses are always focused on patient safety first.
Janie Harvey Garner, RN, founder and executive director of Show Me Your Stethoscope, was asked why she chose this issue for her group. “Because I have been that nurse with the third patient in the ICU,” she says. “I’ve been the nurse with the nine patients on med/surg. It’s not safe for anybody, and quite honestly, though I am extremely concerned about hurting a patient, I’m also very concerned about hurting a nurse because second victim syndrome is a super health issue, for me anyway. I don’t think it is with hospital organizations, but it sure is with me. Kim Hyatt died. Let’s not make it in vain.” (Hyatt committed suicide after making a medication error, which may or may not have been related to staffing issues.)