The standards of nursing for California RNs is located in the California Business and Professions Code Section 2700 (“Nursing Practice Act”, 2018). Updated every year, these regulations are put in place to define scope of practice and responsibilities for nurses working in California. The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), California Nurses Association (CNA), and the Department of Health Services (DHS) have all had a hand in infusing and disseminating regulations for the Standards of Competent Performance and the California Code of Regulations thereby ensuring the aptitude of California registered nurses (Dumpel, 2004).
One of the biggest differences in California compared to the rest of the country was passing of the California RN Staffing Ratio Law which passed in 1999, finalized in 2003 and hospitals had to meet the standards as of January 1, 2004 (Kasprak, 2004). While working as a travel nurse in 2000, on med/surg units nurses were expected to take 8-9 patients on evening shift and 10-11 on nights. By 2004 that ratio dropped to 1:6 and by 2008-present it is 1:5. If one of those patients requires telemetry monitoring, the ratio goes to 1:4. On the night shift when taking care of 10 patients, nurses were not taking breaks, call lights were not answered on a timely fashion, and quality of care was very poor. Nurses would give their shift report in the morning and then take all their charts to the back to do documentation. They would routinely leave work an hour and a half late and not get paid any overtime. With the implementation of this law, the workload became manageable and nurses were able to provide quality care giving the patients the attention, time and education they deserve.
Dumpel H. (2004). The California Nursing Practice Act: standards of competent performance and the nursing process. California Nurse, 100(4), 14–23. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=106754515&site=eds-live&scope=site
Kasprak, John. “CALIFORNIA RN STAFFING RATIO LAW.” OLR Research Report, 10 Feb. 2004, www.cga.ct.gov/2004/rpt/2004-R-0212.htm.
“Nursing Practice Act.” California Board of Registered Nursing, 2018, www.rn.ca.gov/practice/npa.shtml.
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