The subject of nurse-patient ratios comes up often in nursing circles, and can often be a topic of discussion in state legislatures around the United States.
Ratios are also a topic of conversation and disagreement in other countries. RNAction.org, an American Nurses Association (ANA) website dedicated to political action and advocacy, states the following about the subject of safe staffing : “Inadequate nurse staffing levels by experienced RNs are linked to higher rates of patient falls, infections, medication errors and even death.
As we progress through the winter flu season, we expect some irresponsible employers will attempt to violate the law and illegally force nurses to work beyond their schedule shift to cover for staffing shortages.
Be aware that the Health Policy Commission, which is charged with overseeing the mandatory overtime law, has issued guidelines that make it clear that neither the lack of staff, nor the flu season can be used as justifications for mandatory overtime.
They also take the position that any nurse-patient ratio and staffing plans must include the following recommendations: While legislators may have the power to push through legislation pertaining to patient safety and nurse staffing mandates, it is clear that those with the greatest stake in such decisions be brought into the conversation. Democratic State Senator Mike Skindell reintroduced the Ohio Patient Protection Act (Senate Bill 55) , a legislative attempt to impose restrictions on the number of patients for whom Ohio nurses can safely care for.
Interestingly, the bill would require hospitals to publicly post the mandated nurse-patient ratios, and it also forbids the imposition of mandatory overtime to meet staffing demands.Nurses and patients equally deserve a seat at the table and a safe healthcare environment; find your voice and make your voice heard.is a Board-Certified Nurse Coach, award-winning blogger, nurse podcaster, speaker, and author.To assist nurses in understanding this new law and its implications, the MNA has created this web page to provide background on the issue, as well as a mechanism for nurses to report violations of the law.This is a major victory for the MNA/NNU, all nurses in Massachusetts and most importantly, for our patients.