Call/Email re RN Safe Staffing Act of 2003, S.991

  1. ana has been instrumental in developing and getting
    legislation introduced to address the staffing crisis.
    ana based the legislation on "ana's principles of nurse
    staffing." the rn safe staffing act of 2003, s.991, was introduced on may 5 by sen. daniel inouye (d-hi).

    ana asks you to call your senators this week
    (202-224-3121), during national nurses week to urge
    them to co-sponsor this important legislation.

    sorry i missed getting this posted last week!

    the rn safe staffing act amends the conditions of participation in the medicare program and establishes a requirement for minimum staffing ratios. rather than establishing a specific numeric ratio, the act requires the establishment of a staffing system that "ensures a number of registered nurses on each shift and in each unit of the hospital to ensure appropriate staffing levels for patient care." specifically, the staffing system must:

    *be created with input from direct-care rns;
    *be based on the number of patients and level and intensity of care to be provided, with consideration given to admissions, discharges and transfers that nurses must handle each shift;
    *account for architecture and geography of the environment and available technology;
    *reflect the level of preparation and experience of those providing care;
    *reflect staffing levels recommended by specialty nursing organizations;
    *provide that a rn not be assigned to work in a particular unit without first having established the ability to provide professional care in such a unit.

    more info at above link.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 14, '03
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  3. by   oramar
    Sure, great!!
  4. by   SandySummers

    Great idea to gather support for this bill.

    Let's not let it linger in Congress for 10 years waiting for it to get passed (most bills don't get passed on their first introduction into Congress). Let's all write to our Senators and Representative today and get this passed ASAP.

    The AACN has a great web page where you can type in your own letter, but they find the names, addresses, and email address of your representatives for you. So all you do is type in your thoughts then click a button to send it off. It's as easy as this discussion board! Here's the link:

    You might want to mention how important it is to have safe staffing--not only because it decreases patient mortality-- but also because it prevents nursing burnout. Citing Linda Aiken's study
    and giving them the link to it will provide powerful support to your argument.

    Let's rally all nurses to support this bill! Thanks a lot,

    Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
    Executive Director
    The Center for Nursing Advocacy
    Last edit by brian on Jul 13, '03
  5. by   jnette
    Great links, great motivation !

    Thanx ! Will be getting busy on this !
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Boxer & Feinstein called yesterday.
    Good for Senator Inouye!
    Good for the ANA!
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I clicked the link and sent emails. Here's a copy:

    Dear ______

    I am a licensed Registered Nurse, licensed to practice in the states of Texas and Arizona.

    As a direct patient care nurse, I have first-hand knowledge of the horrendous working conditions nurses and patients are subjected to in the current health care environment. Much has been written concerning the current world-wide nursing shortage. More money for tuition and recruiting new and foreign nurses is not the solution.

    Doesn't it make sense to close the wound, instead of just transfusing the patient with more blood that will continue to hemmorhage?

    Just ask THE NURSES. Poor working conditions, due mainly to unrealistic nurse-to-patient ratios are the number one reason for nurses leaving the profession in droves.

    Nurses spread too thin, pushed too far and forced to work overtime in poor conditions is hurting nurses, and consequently, the patients.

    Health care corporations have proven that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Entrusting them to make staffing decisions that affect the lives and health of the public is akin to entrusting mice to dole out cheese.

    Please help stop the hemorrhaging wound that is the nursing shortage by retaining nurses currently working. This can be accomplished by legally mandating safe nurse to patient ratios.

    Thank you,

    _______ _______, RN
  8. by   RNPD
    The ANA is wrong to sponsor this bill w/o specific ratios & numbers. If it

    "requires the establishment of a staffing system that 'ensures a number of registered nurses on each shift and in each unit of the hospital to ensure appropriate staffing levels for patient care.', "

    I can almost guarantee that to the hospitals it will be business as usual. W/o concrete numbers to fall back on, it will be near impossible for the average staff nurse to prove short staffing. It also does not address the problem of mandatory OT.

    Here is the email I sent to the ANA, (as well as several others with some minor changes added to reflect the legislation to which I am referring). Sent 2 weeks ago-no responses as yet.......

    ANA Applauds Federal Legislation to Mandate Safe Nurse-To-Patient Ratios

    I read this article with interest. I noted that nowhere is the problem of mandatory overtime addressed, and it desperately needs to be. In fact, the whole article sounds like so much lip service to me-and actually will benefit neither nurses nor patients, but facilities as always.

    I have been at facilities that used various acuity tools to determine staffing. In the absence of real hard numbers (to which the ANA apparently objects) these tools are less than useless. I say less than because they actually create more paper work for the bedside nurse but never make any difference to staffing.

    The only real true way to legislate staffing is to follow the model put forth by the California Nurses' Association and to mandate real numbers. These numbers should take into account 2 things-1) that they are based on the recent report published in JAMA regarding the research done by the nurses at University of Pennsylvania & the numbers they came up with; and 2) that ancillary staff remain in the mix and are not decreased as the nurseatient ratio improves.

    Only by addressing the matter of safe patient to nurse ratios in this manner can we ever hope to make a difference in the lives of our patients, as well as the viability of our profession.

    Thank you
  9. by   live4today
    I applaud this column, and hope many nurses post here and write (email) their own letter in regards to the topic at hand.

    I just finished posting my own email letter at the link provided by Karen. Thank you Karen! :kiss

    I kept copies of the letter I emailed so I could follow up with it down the way. Karen, keep us posted now.