Nurses Warn of Crisis

  1. related to thread titled: Understaffing of Registered Nurses Leads to Higher Patient Death Rates

    Nurses meet with Senators to address concerns
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 15, '03
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    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 2,662; Likes: 46


  3. by   -jt
    and still the hospital association denies the problem & lobbies the media and our state legislature to fight against safe staffing levels and forced ot bans. It continues to claim that there are no nurses to be found, not bothering to mention that hospitals are even now laying off nurses, cutting positions, freezing hiring, and it completely ignores the Congressional research report that found there are hundreds of thousands of nurses out there not working in nursing & that many of them have blamed the current working conditions for driving them out & keeping them away. It is also trying to prevent the state from requiring hospitals to disclose their staffing levels, claiming its too much extra paperwork. Wonder what they want to hide? If any of you pro-active nurse or pt advocates would like to help us out, a comment to the reporter would be greatly appreciated. Send to

    <<March 11, 2003

    Nurses warn of crisis
    By Matt Smith
    Ottaway News Service

    Albany, NY - Inadequate staffing at health care facilities statewide is threatening the lives of patients, and driving scores of burned-out nurses from the profession, according to the New York State Nurses Association. The situation is so dire, the association claimed yesterday, that there'll be a shortage of 17,000 registered nurses statewide by 2010.

    "How well patients do in the hospital is determined by the number of nurses available to care for them," association President Robert Piemonte said. "Patients die needlessly because each nurse has too many patients to care for."

    In an effort to enhance patient safety, representatives from the 34,000-member association yesterday urged state lawmakers to pass legislation that sets a mandatory safe staffing level for all of the state's health care centers. Specifically, the group wants a patient-to-nurse ratio of 4 to 1 for all health care facilities. It also wants legislation that would place limitations on mandatory overtime, and require hospitals to report staffing levels to the state.

    Bills have been introduced in the state Senate and Assembly that would require safe staffing levels and force health providers to report work-force ratios.

    But the group representing more than 500 hospitals and health facilities across the state doesn't agree that new laws are the answer. "The staffing ratio keeps coming up as a quick fix," said Monica Mahaffey, spokeswoman for the Healthcare Association of New York State. "It's the shortage of health care workers that's the real problem. We can't hire what's not there."

    Mahaffey said the Healthcare Association also considers it counterproductive to require hospitals to report staffing levels. "One of the solutions that we have floated to address the work shortage is to remove our direct caregivers from all the paperwork, and put them back in the business of providing direct care," Mahaffey said. "One more piece of paperwork does nothing toward that end." >>>

    Last edit by -jt on Mar 14, '03
  4. by   Sleepyeyes
    Thanks, I did email this reporter. It'd be nice if the media finally heard us and reported our concerns accurately, wouldn't it?
  5. by   BadBird
    Not to mention that critical care areas are being staffed with new graduate nurses. I am not bashing a new nurse but in those intense areas experience counts. Since I am agency I worked with a charge nurse on a transplant unit that was only a nurse for 7 months!!! She was very nice but definately green behind the ears. Poor patients.
  6. by   sjoe
    "She was very nice but definately green behind the ears."

    Sounds like a little soap and water is called for here.
  7. by   wv_nurse 2003
    Let alone why would someone offer someone with 7 months experience a charge position.....

    Why would you accept a "charge nurse" position with only 7 months experience?? I don't get it, I remember being a nurse for 7 months, I was barely out of orientation!
  8. by   -jt
    <Albany, N.Y., March 10, 2003-More than 300 Registered Nurses, members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), converged on Albany today to lobby for patient safety in hospitals and nursing homes. They called on the Legislature to ensure quality patient care .....>

    Pro-active nurses do make the difference.

    Here's the update following that RN lobbying event at our state capitol:

    For Immediate Release

    Assembly Labor Committee Approves Bills to Improve Safety for Patients and Nurses

    Albany, NY, March 14, 2003-A landmark bill that would prohibit employers from forcing nurses to work overtime has been voted in from the New York State Assembly Labor Committee.

    The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) drafted the legislation and has lobbied aggressively for its passage.

    Registered Nurses who routinely are mandated to work beyond their regularly scheduled shifts are physically less able to provide the care their patients need and deserve. Unpredictable working hours are also a primary reason nurses are leaving the profession, contributing to the current shortage of nurses.

    The Labor Committee also listened to nurses' concerns about healthcare workplace safety, voting favorably on a bill that would require businesses with 50 or more employees to develop and implement plans to prevent workplace violence.

    "We purposely acted on these bills when more than 300 NYSNA members were at the State Capitol to share their concerns with us," said Committee Chair Susan John (D-Rochester), who sponsored the workplace safety bill. "Statistics show that nurses are more likely than other professionals to experience violence in the workplace. They must be assured that systems are in place to protect them."

    Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D-Queens), who sponsored the bill to ban mandatory overtime, stressed its importance to patient safety. "Except in the case of a clearly defined emergency, nurses should have the right to refuse overtime when, in their professional judgment, they are too tired to practice safely. The state must stand behind them."

    Both measures were then sent to the Assembly Codes Committee for further consideration.

    More to come.

    The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), with more than 34,000 members, is New York's largest union and professional association for Registered Nurses. NYSNA is the only organization that exclusively represents the interests of New York State's RNs, and is recognized nationwide as a trendsetter in improving RNs' wages and working conditions. NYSNA works to advance the nursing profession through collective bargaining and legislative activities, and fosters high standards of nursing education and practice. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and its labor arm, the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

    Contact: Nancy Webber: 518.782.9400, ext. 223
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 15, '03