NURS 8100 Agenda Setting

NURS 8100 Agenda Setting

NURS 8100 Agenda Setting

Clinical Practice Issue: Nurse-Patient Ratios

As the chair of the Nurse Peer Review Council at my institution, we review many problems that arise from clinical practice issues that are unresolved. In the first two months of 2022, we have reviewed clinical practice issues with the nurse-to-nurse handoff, staffing shortages, and failures to escalate the chain of command.

I have been a perinatal services director for over 10 years and in my time as a leader, I have often felt that the patient ratios in the perinatal services arena are not in alignment with the Association of Women’s Health and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) staffing acuity guidelines. Although these guidelines were created in 2010 to promote caring for patients in the perinatal period in a safe manner based on the acuity of the patient (Simpson et al., 2019) hospital financial colleagues do not understand the importance, and frequently these guidelines have to be overlooked to maintain compliance financially. The guidelines break down different types of diagnosis and acuity of specific clinical care scenarios and rank them into categories. This information is further broken down into the number of FTEs that would be appropriate to care for this type of patient. An example would be that any patient that is pushing while in labor would require a 1:1 patient ratio whereas three patients in triage could be cared for by one nurse. The problem with this is that patients can move in and out of different levels of acuity based on their course of labor up to and after delivery. From a financial and productivity perspective this does not make sense. Staffing for a patient that begins at the lowest level of acuity then turns into the highest level of acuity, and then back to a moderate level of acuity after delivery is hard to measure from a productivity standpoint. This is even harder to maintain if departments are held to a productivity standard that is not in alignment with the patient ratios that mirror actual care a patient needs to receive during their hospital stay. The result is less safe care for patients, poor outcomes for mothers and infants, and staff dissatisfaction and burnout (Simpson, 2016).

I am currently working with an internal PI specialist piloting a program for the health care system that involves assessing the AWHONN staffing acuity guidelines and how often my labor and delivery unit is overstaffed or understaffed based on the AWHONN staffing acuity guidelines. We have collected eight months of data and have now created a presentation for the senior leadership team to help inform them of the need to deploy additional resources at a certain time of the day and on certain days of the week. This additional resource would increase the safety of care being provided to mothers and infants.

Some of the strategies I have used up to this point are in an agency for healthcare and research quality toolkit (AHRQ). The strategies include having a well-outlined plan that involves getting the right people on the team for the project, identifying a champion, communicating regularly with the stakeholders, and moving systematically through the stages of a project ( By doing this the end-user has a well-developed objective presentation to support the need for a change. The importance of presenting a proposal that not only includes the need for change based on safety, but needs to include the financial, and operational impacts also.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (October, 2014). Designing and Implementing Medicaid Disease and Care Management Programs. Retrieved from

Simpson, K. R., Lyndon, A., Spetz, J., Gay, C. L., & Landstrom, G. L. (2019). Incorporation of the AWHONN Nurse Staffing Guidelines into Clinical Practice. Nurse Women’s Health, 23(3), 217–233.

Simpson, K. R., Lyndon, A., & Ruhl, C. (2016). Consequences of inadequate staffing include missed care, potential failure to rescue, and job stress and dissatisfaction. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 45(4), 481–490.

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Clinical Practice Issue: Frequent Admissions due to Poor Discharge Nursing Education. Reducing hospital readmissions is a national focus for healthcare reform. Consequently, patient discharge education is increasingly important for improving clinical outcomes and reducing hospital costs (Polster, 2015). According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nearly 20% of all Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge; 34% are readmitted within 90 days of discharge (Polster, 2015)

The quality of discharge teaching is statistically linked to decreased readmission rates. Nursing most often bears the major responsibility of patient and caregiver teaching (Luther, et al., 2019). Currently, discharge teaching is complicated by problems including time constraints, patient and caregiver overload, and coexisting comorbidities that add complexity to the patient’s care needs at home. (Luther, et al., 2019). A structured discharge process with tools to help healthcare organizations improve their discharge process to decrease readmission rates need to be considered (Luther, et al., 2019).

The CMS expects nurses and other healthcare team members to address modifiable factors that can increase the chance of rehospitalization, such as (1) unplanned and early discharge or insufficient post-discharge support, (2) inadequate follow-up, (3) therapeutic mistakes, (4) adverse drug events, and (5) failed handoffs (Polster, 2015). The policy of interest will focus on failed handoffs or poor discharge education. Ineffective discharge is related to factors at the level of the individual care provider, the patient, the relationship between providers, and the organizational and technical support for care providers. Providers can reduce hospital readmission rates and adverse events by focusing on high-quality discharge information, well-coordinated care, and direct and timely communication with their counterpart colleagues (Hesselink, et al., 2015)

What strategies would you use to inform stakeholders and persuade them of the importance of your identified clinical practice issue?

There are several strategies that can be used to inform stakeholders while persuading them on the importance of a new policy (Hydera, et al., 2010). For example, the policy of interest must be established and stakeholders to be included.  The stakeholders will entail clinical nursing, physicians, patient experiences, pharmacy, quality and safety, nursing managers and directors. Once a policy of interest and stakeholders have been established, accepting of the stakeholder’s perspective on the issue would be first taken into consideration. Expectations related to interventions can predict the likelihood of successful intervention implementation through intervention refinement and incorporation of innovative ideas, sharing perspectives with key stakeholders will enhance solidarity around interventions for improving discharge education and reduction of frequent admits (Hydera, et al., 2010). Stakeholder engagement throughout research generation and policymaking becomes critical to strengthening the research–policy interface.

Fostering such linkages between mediators, individuals or institutions with different stakeholders will encourage strong research-policy linkages (Hydera, et al., 2010). Another strategy that can be used to persuade stakeholders on the importance of improving discharge education to decrease frequent admissions is to use policy briefing, a new approach to packaging research evidence for policymakers (Lavis, et al., 2009). The first step in a policy brief is to prioritize a policy issue, followed by use of systematic reviews to mobilize full range research evidence to the various features of the issue.

Hesselink, G., Zegers, M., MyVernooij-Dassen, M., Barach, P., Kalkman, C., Flink, M., Ön, G., Olsson, M., Bergenbrant, S., Orrego, C., Suñol, R., Toccafondi, G., Venneri, F., Dudzik-Urbaniak, E., Kutryba, B., Schoonhoven, L., & Wollersheim, H. (2014). Improving patient discharge and reducing hospital readmissions by using Intervention Mapping. BMC Health Services Research. 14: 389.

Hydera, A., Syeda, S., Puvanachandraa, P., Bloomb, G., Sundarama, S., Mahmoodc, S., Iqbalc, M., Hongwend, A., Ravichandrane, N., Oladepof, O., Pariyog, D., & Petersa, D. (2010). Stakeholder analysis for health research: Case studies from low- and middle-income countries. Public Health, 124(3): 159-166

Lavis, J. N., Permanand, G., Oxman, A. D., Lewin, S., & Fretheim, A. (2009). SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 13: Preparing and using policy briefs to support evidence-informed policymaking. Health Research Policy & Systems, 71–79.

Luther, B., Wilson, R. D., Kranz, C., & Krahulec, M. (2019). Discharge processes: what evidence tells us I most effective. Review Orthopedic Nurse; 38(5): 328-333.

Polster, D. (2015). Preventing readmissions with discharge education. Nursing Management, 46(10):  30-37.

Within every organization, employee satisfaction is a largely contributing factor the success or failure of a healthcare system. What is the organization without its employees? Right now, within the world of nursing, many are searching for opportunities at other organizations. Looking for increased pay, work life balance, flexibility and safe ratios of care. Health care systems are losing nurses in mass numbers with the demand for the profession continuing to grow. Currently, the national average for turnover rates is 8.8 % to 37.0% varying on location. According to The American Nurses Association (ANA), more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States. According to an article in the Nursing Times, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed from 2020 to 2030 (Haddad, et al., 2022).

Dr. Kathleen White and Dr. Joan Stanley discuss the original theory of agenda setting. These discussions and implementation of formal policies to address important issues (Laureate Education, 2011). Dr. Kathleen also discusses the importance of taking certain steps to get a policy adopted while taking into consideration feasibility, cost, and involvement of stakeholders prior to implementation (Laureate Education, 2011). Collaboration is key to creating change. Policy change cannot occur without the input from frontline members. In this scenario the staff are the stakeholders. Stakeholders can be defined as “Organizations and individuals that are involved in a specific activity because they participate in producing, consuming, managing, regulating, or evaluating the activity” (Hyder, et. alt. 2010). Hyder describes the importance of stakeholders and their perceptions. The perspective of decision makers is important as it provides insight to areas of policy making.

The voice of the employee is invaluable to the success and longevity of an organization. At my current organization, every year a survey is administered to each and every nurse to have a better understand of what is important and needed at an employee level. Many policy changes have occurred from the results of this survey. Last year, nurses and patient care technicians spoke to the importance of flexible scheduling related to the wellbeing of their roles. Many described how they were unable to leave from their scheduled shifts in a timely fashion or arrange their lives to meet the needs of the unit. Hospital leadership met to discuss how to make the voices of the employees heard. Scheduling needs were adjusted to be in 4 hour increments, which increased the workforce. The view from staff was that wellness and work life balance was more achievable with the flexible scheduling. This made happier, healthier employees. This simple change cost nothing but increased retention and was viewed as a recruitment tool as well. Allowing employees to be viewed as individuals not just a body to fill a staffing need.


 Haddad LM, Annamaraju P, Toney-Butler TJ. Nursing Shortage. [Updated 2022 Feb 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:

Hyder, S. Syed, P. Puvanachandra, G. Bloom, S. Sundaram, S. Mahmood, M. Iqbal, Z. Hongwen, N. Ravichandran, O. Oladepo, G. Pariyo, D. Peters, Stakeholder analysis for health research: Case studies from low- and middle-income countries, Public Health, 124 (3), 159-166

Walden University, LLC. (Executive Producer). (2011). Healthcare policy and advocacy: Agenda      setting and the policy process. Baltimore: Author.