Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris PhD, RN, CNS


The patient-to-nurse ratio is a topic that affects all nurses. A review of the research literature was performed to study this vital issue. Data was obtained from surveys conducted in numerous countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Chile. The evidence showed that an increased patient-to-nurse ratio motivated nurses’ intention to leave their job. A higher patient-to-nurse ratio was found to have been associated with higher levels of personal burnout, client-related burnout, and job dissatisfaction in nurses. Currently in California, in medical-surgical units, the registered nurse staffing mandate is at one nurse to five patients. When nurses’ workloads were in line with California’s mandated ratios, nurses’ burnout and job dissatisfaction were lower, and nurses reported consistently better quality of care. Furthermore, there was a decrease in nurses receiving verbal abuse from patients or other staff and complaints from patients and their family.

In addition, a theoretical model is presented, which offers a hypothesis that nurses’ level of education may be a factor in affecting patient outcomes. In this paper, I propose a study to examine how a baccalaureate degree in nursing may affect patient mortality and failure to rescue.

Included in

Nursing Commons