Florida - Bill prescribes nurse staffing

  1. Please read entire article.

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7378192/

    Bill prescribes nurse staffing
    By Brian Bandell
    South Florida Business Journal
    Updated: 8:00 p.m. ET April 3, 2005

    As hospitals warn of a nursing shortage in Florida, a labor union is becoming more aggressive in supporting a bill that would require hospitals to hire more nurses.

    A union representing thousands of nurses is backing bills in the Florida House (HB 1117) and Senate (SB 1176) that would set a strict nurse-to-patient ratio in hospital departments and ban mandatory overtime....

    ...The bill would force hospitals to meet nurse-to-patient ratios specific to each department. The largest department, the medical/surgical floor, would require a nurse for every four patients at all times.

    That is the ideal rate to ensure quality care, said Maria Sanchez, a registered nurse at the newborn intermediate department at Jackson Memorial Hospital and a member of the Nurse Alliance of Florida labor union, which has several thousand members in South Florida.


    ...The Florida Nurses Association opposes the ratios because they don't distinguish between nurses with different skill sets and they override nurses' judgment over how to treat patients.

    Strict ratios aren't needed if hospitals have efficient patient care systems in place, said Ernestine Ziacik, chief nursing office and VP of patient services at Bethesda Medical Center in Boynton Beach. Her hospital can safely assign one RN to eight patients, as long as they have enough licensed nurse practitioners and patient care attendants to assist them with less-complicated tasks.

    However, both Sosa-Guerrero and Ziacik support the bill's provision to limit nurses to working 12 hours in a 24-hour period, except in declared emergencies or if they voluntarily opt for overtime. They agree with the Nursing Alliance that nurses forced to work on shifts as long as 18 hours can become tired and disgruntled....


    ...In March, nearly 100 nurses held a rally in support of the measure in Tallahassee and personally met with state lawmakers.

    The momentum has been building as the nurses tell them about their tough work environments, said John Ratliff, the lobbyist for the Nursing Alliance.

    The Florida Hospital Association wants to squash that momentum. Lawmakers should address the nursing shortage by providing more funding to expand nursing programs in Florida colleges and universities, FHA VP of Strategic Communications Rich Rasmussen said. He points to California as an example of how nursing ratios have financially hurt hospitals....

    ...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lost a court battle in March over his order to stop the ratio from dropping to 1 to 5 after a judge ruled that hospitals weren't facing an emergency because of the requirement. California hospitals need 4,000 additional nurses to meet the lower ratio.

    Some California hospitals have embraced the ratios. Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit that owns 19 hospitals in the state, implemented the ratios before the law went into effect and, in many cases, exceeds the requirement with ratios of 1 to 4, spokeswoman Kathleen McKenna said.

    "We know there's a nursing shortage," McKenna said. "But we've also been aggressively recruiting, paying them high salaries and offering them a preferable workplace with smaller patient loads."
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   barefootlady
    I hope Florida nurses support the ratio bill. It will be the start of new and better working conditions for nurses in that state.
    Hey Tweety, lets hear from you on the proposal.
  4. by   Runman1914
    Im a nurse in miami and i would love to see this happened but doubt it ever will.I hate to sound negative but the hospital association has far more money than the nurses unions.The hospital association can line the pockets of politicians alot better.There is no difference in a democrat and a republican when it comes to money. There are alot of millionares in florida that fund the hospital associations and nurses cant compete with that. I hope im wrong but i dont ever see these ratios coming true.
  5. by   barefootlady
    It can happen if the nurses in the state all back the bill. Show support. March with signs that say safety for patients means safe rations. Please, talk about this with the nurses where you work, write your elected officials, post a sign in your yard in support of the bill, put a sign on your car. It does not only depend on a nurses union, it depends on each and every one of you working, licensed nurses.
  6. by   SharonH, RN
    Strict ratios aren't needed if hospitals have efficient patient care systems in place, said Ernestine Ziacik, chief nursing office and VP of patient services at Bethesda Medical Center in Boynton Beach. Her hospital can safely assign one RN to eight patients, as long as they have enough licensed nurse practitioners and patient care attendants to assist them with less-complicated tasks.

    Can we hear from some Boynton Beach RNs please? That sounds like the type of cr_p the management used to put on us when I worked the bedside. Not enough nurses so we'll send you an extra aide. Whatever!


    I wonder if she has worked under how own "efficient patient care system"?
    Last edit by SharonH, RN on Apr 4, '05
  7. by   RN4NICU
    Strict ratios aren't needed if hospitals have efficient patient care systems in place, said Ernestine Ziacik, chief nursing office and VP of patient services at Bethesda Medical Center in Boynton Beach. Her hospital can safely assign one RN to eight patients, as long as they have enough licensed nurse practitioners and patient care attendants to assist them with less-complicated tasks.
    I wouldn't trust the word of anyone that doesn't know the difference between a nurse practitioner and an LPN.
  8. by   ISITFRIDAYYET
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Can we hear from some Boynton Beach RNs please? That sounds like the type of cr_p the management used to put on us when I worked the bedside. Not enough nurses so we'll send you an extra aide. Whatever!


    I wonder if she has worked under how own "efficient patient care system"?
    Oh boy,,,,I worked med surg at Bethesda Memorial about five years ago. What a terrible experience that was. As I recall, I was usually assigned 8-10 patients on the day shift. Because I was per diem, many times I was assigned the "pit", the end of a long hallway where the TB, HIV, resp precautions patients had rooms. Talk about depressing. Being a seasoned nurse who could haul ***, it was also overwhelming. I would run like a chicken with with its head cut off most of the shift, praying that I didn't miss something or worse. Forget about CNAs, they disappeared after 2pm. After a few short months of that, I starting calling in on a regular basis,,,just could not bear to go in The night sup was great,,,he asked me what was up, got me in to work mother baby. Of course that didn't last long when the nurse supervisor decided to give me a hard time. Isn't that always the case,,,,you find a position that makes you walk in with a smile,,,and some ***** (sorry but it's true) makes it so you don't.

    Not working as a nurse any longer. I don't need or want the drama anymore. :imbar

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