Writing in today’s New York Times op-ed pages, Theresa Brown calls for federal action to increase hiring of nurses:
Doctors can indeed be heroes. But when a patient takes a sudden turn for the worse, it’s the nurses who are usually the first to respond. Each patient has a specific nurse assigned to watch over him, and it is that nurse’s responsibility to react immediately in the event of an emergency.
That’s getting harder to do, though. Cost-cutting at hospitals often means fewer nurses, so the number of patients each nurse must care for increases, leading to countless unnecessary deaths. Unless Congress mandates a federal standard for nurse-patient ratios, those deaths will continue.
The essay, “Is There a Nurse in the House?” is available on line.
Brown, an oncology nurse, is a contributor to The Times’s “Well” blog and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything In Between.