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Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT!)

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The House has introduced the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007 on November 9th. It is important that we speak out on this issue and not let it fall through the cracks!

You can view the bill in it's entirety here.

I've also posted some other helpful links here.

Let your voices be heard, nurses!

The House has introduced the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007 on November 9th. It is important that we speak out on this issue and not let it fall through the cracks!

You can view the bill in it's entirety here.

I've also posted some other helpful links here.

Let your voices be heard, nurses!

The only bad thing I can see coming of this is that some hospitals might not want to participate in this albeit prudent exercise and decide to not take medicare patients or set themselves in a 'Private vs. public' status so they don't HAVE to take patients. Thus sending patients, who could be in a very serious emergency status, to hospitals who knows how far off. It is unacceptable that either way the patients are and will continue to suffer until someone opens hospitals that have the mindset of healing people instead of padding their own wallets. It is just very very sad that the people who need us most, our patients, are the ones EVERY TIME who are under treated by these conglomerates. Very, very sad.

I have read the bill, what I am confused about is will the Medicare facilty be hospitals only? What about nursing homes, where things have gotton about as bad as they can be.Maybe someone can clarify it for me.

OC_An Khe

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED. Has 40 years experience.

The question is whether this Bill will go anywhere. If it does get out of the House will it be killed in the Senate by filibuster. Of course if we do write our representatives and Senators it does stand a chance. With out us writting I think that it has very little chance.

Few hospitals can afford to turn away Medicare patients. And the ones that can, already do.

As for nursing homes, I don't think this covers them. But one step at a time. We get hospitals staffed, then move along to nursing homes!

I just sent this to my congressman. Not my best letter writing, but I wanted to send it while thinking about it. Feel free to copy it/modify it for your own letters!! (The paragraph that starts "Congressman" I actually used my rep's name, but didn't want anyone to just cut and paste and forget to change that to their rep's name, so I suggest using their name for a more personal touch.)

I am writing to you to express my support for HR 4138, The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007.

As a Registered Nurse, I fight daily for the safety and well-being of my patients. Nurses are on the front lines of healthcare in this country. When we have the time and resources to do our jobs well, we can get patients out of the hospital faster and in better health. When we don't have the time and resources to do our jobs well, patients die.

I do much more than pass a few pills and empty bedpans. I monitor my patients for subtle signs that their health is declining. With time to do a careful assessment, I can stop a decline before a patient ends up in ICU or worse in cardiac arrest. But if I have too many patients to attend to, I can only do a quick cursory glance, and miss those subtle signs.

Congressman, if your beloved family member is in the hospital, do you want a nurse caring for them that has the time to really make a difference in their health? Or do you want a nurse rushing around because he or she has 5,6,7 or even 10,12 other patients?

Hospital administrators will tell you that they can't staff because there's a nursing shortage. There's plenty of nurses in this country, they just refuse to work in these unsafe conditions. They don't want to kill someone with a medication error because they're so haggard from being overworked. California has been very successful in implementing staffing ratios. The only hospitals to go under were already going under when the laws passed. Nurses actually move to California to work in those hospitals because they know they will have safe staffing. There are plenty of nurses, and if they know they can return to the bedside with the law protecting them from unsafe staffing, they will return.

When you vote on this bill, think of your family being in the hospital. Vote with the safety of your family in mind and vote in favor of this bill.

Few hospitals can afford to turn away Medicare patients. And the ones that can, already do.

As for nursing homes, I don't think this covers them. But one step at a time. We get hospitals staffed, then move along to nursing homes!

I respectfully disagree with you , nursing home patients and nurses deserve a nurse /patient ratio as much as hospitals.It would make much more sense to try to get safe patient/ staff ratios in all medicare facilities, whether LTC or Hospital.Why go through all all the work to bring about reform and not include LTC facilities?

I respectfully disagree with you , nursing home patients and nurses deserve a nurse /patient ratio as much as hospitals.It would make much more sense to try to get safe patient/ staff ratios in all medicare facilities, whether LTC or Hospital.Why go through all all the work to bring about reform and not include LTC facilities?

I'm not saying LTC shouldn't have safe staffing. I'm saying I don't want to miss the chance to at least get safe staffing in hospitals because the bill isn't perfect. I think that if we get people headed towards the idea that proper staffing is a needed thing in hospitals, it will make it easier to move from there. If we wait for the perfect bill, we'll be waiting forever. Go with good for now, and then use it as a catalyst for change towards great.

I'm not saying LTC shouldn't have safe staffing. I'm saying I don't want to miss the chance to at least get safe staffing in hospitals because the bill isn't perfect. I think that if we get people headed towards the idea that proper staffing is a needed thing in hospitals, it will make it easier to move from there. If we wait for the perfect bill, we'll be waiting forever. Go with good for now, and then use it as a catalyst for change towards great.
You may be right, but change has been SOOOOO long in coming.Really so Sad, I am out of nursing now, but would LOVE to see the day when reform in all healthcare facilities really begins to happen in earnest.

Crocuta, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, ER.

I looked really hard, and I can't find the section where this bill requires the nursing fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and produce RN's in the marketplace sufficient to meet the staffing standards.

There are X number of nursing positions required for full staffing nationwide. Every current study indicates that there are fewer available nurses than there are positions to fill. Mandating lower nurse to patient ratios isn't going to do *anything* to address the problem. The nurses simply don't exist to fill these positions no matter how many laws you pass requiring them to be filled.

What I do see is yet more paperwork, more record keeping and more administrative obligations. Guess what? That means the hospital has to hire more people to manage the data which means less money to hire nurses.

Sorry about your next pay raise, but we needed it for more office staff to maintain our staffing records for three years.

:angryfire

Breathe....Breathe.... Ah. I'm better now.

I looked really hard, and I can't find the section where this bill requires the nursing fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and produce RN's in the marketplace sufficient to meet the staffing standards.

There are X number of nursing positions required for full staffing nationwide. Every current study indicates that there are fewer available nurses than there are positions to fill. Mandating lower nurse to patient ratios isn't going to do *anything* to address the problem. The nurses simply don't exist to fill these positions no matter how many laws you pass requiring them to be filled.

What I do see is yet more paperwork, more record keeping and more administrative obligations. Guess what? That means the hospital has to hire more people to manage the data which means less money to hire nurses.

Sorry about your next pay raise, but we needed it for more office staff to maintain our staffing records for three years.

:angryfire

Breathe....Breathe.... Ah. I'm better now.

What about all the nurses who left the field due to the abysmal working conditions?

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

law specific to hospitals:

h. r. 4138to amend title xviii of the social security act to impose minimum nurse staffing ratios in medicare participating hospitals, and for other purposes.

ana has been spearheading this legislation since 2005:

read the april 4, 2005 capitol update article on the rn staffing act

ana applauds introduction of registered nurse safe staffing act (11/13/07) [pdf]

once legislation adressed for hospitals (biggest impacet on staffing), will be able to then work on crafting legislation for skilled nursing facilities, rehab and other type units.

I thought I read this facility based "flexibility" in the Capps bill.

What is the reason for different minimum ratios at each facility?

Critical care patients should never have to share their nurse with more than one other patient. Critical care patients held in the ER must be staffed at this level too.

A circulating nurse must never leave the OR when a patient is present.

The hospitals have had supreme flexibility and many if not most have failed to staff according to the needs of their patients. SO staffing by acuity with legally mandated minimum nurse to patient ratios must be the standard.

No hospital will be able to assign more patients to a nurse than the ratio for that patient. They will have the flexibility to assign fewer patients and add staff.

This bill is not what it seems.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports the establishment of nurse-patient

ratios to address the current staffing crisis, but feels strongly that these ratios must be

set, not by legislators or government officials, but in the workplace in direct

coordination with nurses themselves, and based on unit-by-unit circumstances and

needs.

ANA supports efforts to mandate establishment of valid and reliable nurse

staffing systems in acute care and to require standard, public reporting of nurse staffing

levels and mix and patient outcomes.

http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAPoliticalPower/Federal/LEGIS/AppropriateStaffing.aspx

I'll be the first to admit it's not perfect. But what I REALLY like in the bill (other than it's at least a start) is the little thing about having to post how many licensed personnel are on the unit. I would adore having my patients see how many other patients I'm taking care of. Especially if I'm working at a hospital that has me scripting, "Is there anything else I can get for you, I HAVE THE TIME!"

Dierdre

Specializes in Biomedical, Hospice, LTC, Office. Has 18 years experience.

Heh, sorry to be kinda doubtful about how well it will work, I just think the facilities will forget opting for RN's and hire LPN's who aren't protected by law and continue playing the same old game. Maybe I'm jaded, or maybe I've just seen too much.

So when do we know if it passed or not?

I looked really hard, and I can't find the section where this bill requires the nursing fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and produce RN's in the marketplace sufficient to meet the staffing standards.

There are X number of nursing positions required for full staffing nationwide. Every current study indicates that there are fewer available nurses than there are positions to fill. Mandating lower nurse to patient ratios isn't going to do *anything* to address the problem. The nurses simply don't exist to fill these positions no matter how many laws you pass requiring them to be filled.

What I do see is yet more paperwork, more record keeping and more administrative obligations. Guess what? That means the hospital has to hire more people to manage the data which means less money to hire nurses.

Sorry about your next pay raise, but we needed it for more office staff to maintain our staffing records for three years.

:angryfire

Breathe....Breathe.... Ah. I'm better now.

I beg to differ with you. There are 500,000 nurses in this country who have left the profession. It has been shown that when hospital pay nurses more and improve staffing, they come back to work. It is as simple as that. It is also called, SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

The problem is that hospitals do not want to pay more money to bring these nurses back to work, do not want to improve working conditions, and benefits. Why do we allow them to play these games? They will continue until we DEMAND HIGHER PAY, AND BETTER STAFFING. It is also called, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

This will continue until nurses get serious about controlling our profession. The hospitals are hoping that they can delay any of the above improvements, until they can pressure law makers to dumb down and de skill our profession more than it already has. Then they can run a hospital with a skeleton crew of licensed staff, just like nursing homes do.

Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN

Spokane, Washington

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