Patients: More UAPs, fewer RNs hurt care

Add the American health care consumer to the list of people who perceive that replacing RNs with UAPs is jeopardizing their care.

A recent survey commissioned by the American Nursing Association (ANA) in Washington, DC, found that patients want registered nurses, not unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP), to deliver their bedside care in acute care facilities.

Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed about their health care values, 75% reported that they believe reducing the number of RNs who provide bedside care in hospitals lowers the quality of care.

Another survey of RNs, also conducted late last year by the ANA, revealed they, too, perceive that the increased use of UAPs is jeopardizing patient care.

In the consumer-based survey, significant findings include:

• More than 65% reported that they believe increased use of UAPs for care traditionally delivered by nurses diminishes care quality.

• More than 80% reported that they believe it is inappropriate for UAPs to draw blood and insert catheters or other tubes.

• More than 45% reported that the ability to choose their own providers was the most important factor in their choice of health insurance.

• Only 17% of those surveyed who had a choice of health plans reported that cost was the most important factor in choosing health insurance.

• More than 70% reported that choice of hospital was very important to their choice of health insurance, and 10% said hospital choice was the most important factor in selecting health insurance.

For more information about ANA’s survey, "Nursing and the quality of patient care," contact: ANA, 600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 100 W, Washington, DC 20024-2571. Telephone: (202) 651-7000. Fax: (202) 651-7001.

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