- For more than two decades, the United States lacks enough nurses to provide high-quality health care to patients (Aiken et al., 2010).
- A high number of patients increases the workload of nurses, resulting in burnouts, job dissatisfaction and a high nursing turnover (Aiken et al., 2010).
- In 2004, California enacted a law that imposed a minimum number of nurses in an acute care hospital (Aiken et al., 2010).
- By 2009, fourteen states including the District of Columbia passed the legislations aimed at addressing the nursing staff shortage in their areas (Aiken et al., 2010).
- The intention of seeking to enact these laws was to improve the nurse-patient ratio in these states (Aiken et al., 2010).
- However, in a research carried out in 1993, an Institute of Medicine denoted that there is insufficient information concerning the actual nurse to patient ratio needed (Aiken et al., 2010).
- In order to offer high-quality health care services, there is a need of enacting similar legislation that mandates a minimum number of nurses to a particular patient ratio all over the country (Blais & Hayes, 2015).
My Strategies to Influence Votes
Throughout history, nurses have used a variety of methods for the purposes of changing health care policies that are harmful to them. One of the best approaches to employ for influencing the legislators to pass the mandate nurse-patients ratio is through the use of advocacy (Abood, 2007). To impact on votes at the local level, the support of the residents is necessary to ensure that politicians listen to the grievances of the nurses. Acquiring the support of people at the local level would increase the number of individuals who need the law. Legislators have an interest in appealing to a large number of voters because of their desire to become popular. When they address toa large number of people, they can easily win an election. Legislators would not therefore ignore a policy initiative that has the support of many voters.
Attracting a large number of people to support the law would not be an easy task. It involves joining a nursing union, organizing meetings and workshops to sensitize people on the need of passing the law on the minimum number of nurses per a given ratio of patients (Abood, 2007). The audience to attend these workshops consists of nurses and the general public. As such, an extensive advertisement with the use of the social and traditional media is required. Running an advertisement costs much money; hence, there would be a need of looking for sponsors who would have an interest in improving the health care industry of the United States.
Another method of enlisting support for the nursing ratio law at the local level is through the use of phone calls (Abood, 2007). The recipients of these calls would be area legislators, politicians, and other health advocacy groups. Through this approach, I would get the chance to personally explain the interlocutors my position towards the law, and why they should support it. During these telephone conversations, I would identify the advantages of the nursing ratio law, and the consequences of not passing it. This method would appeal to the emotions and conscious of the parties concerned, resulting in the support of the nursing ratio law.
The best approach to use for influencing the votes at the state level is lobbying. It involves talking to politicians and policy makers about the need of initiating and passing the nursing ratio law (Abood, 2007). As lobbying is expensive, there would be a need of using other interested groups with access to the state power to lobby on my behalf and that of the nursing fraternity. These groups would come with their financial and social resources. Much money would be needed during this process. Lobbyist would use it to hold meetings and workshops that target legislators. It is during these meetings and workshops that lobbyist would make an appeal to the lawmakers to pass the nursing ratio law.
Lobbying would also involve supporting politicians who are advocates of the nursing ratio law. The support would include raising money for their campaigns. Politicians would use it for their re-election bids. The logic behind this initiative is to ensure that there are legislators who are sympathetic to the course of the nurses (Blais & Hayes, 2015). While in Congress, they can act as a bridge between the nurses and other legislators. Another method of assisting in the re-election of these members of the legislator includes physically campaigning for them. It means visiting the villages and talking to voters about the need of re-electing particular politicians.
Lobbyists would target two groups of people: supported politicians, and those who are aspiring to run for elective posts. Lobbyists would identify and support the candidates who would be sympathetic to the nursing ratio law so that they might stand against those who would be hostile to the law. This action would limit the number of legislators opposing the nursing ratio law making it easier for the nursing ratio bill to get enough votes in the state Congress.
Increasing My Power to Influence Votes
For the purposes of increasing my power to influence votes, I would work on my credentials. This would involve registering for other courses in nursing and leadership. When my credentials would be good, people would start respecting and viewing me as a professional. The word of a professional in any field carries weight, and it has the capability of influencing votes (Cuddihy, 2005). Some of the methods to use in improving my credentials include writing articles in scholarly journals and newspapers and advancing my academic qualifications to the Master's degree.