California approved final regulations establishing nurse-to-patient ratios, becoming the first state to mandate hospital staffing levels. As of Jan. 1, 2004, hospitals in the state will be required to staff one nurse for every six patients in medical-surgical units and one nurse for every two patients in intensive-care units. The medical-surgical ratio will become 1-to-5 in 2005. Hospitals must document staffing assignments and maintain the records for one year. -- by Patrick Reilly
Calif. sets final nurse-to-patient staffing ratios
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