A growing alliance of more than 65 health care and consumer organizations that is seeking passage of H. 1282, Quality Patient Care/Safe RN Staffing legislation. The coalition, along with 102 legislators, 9 in 10 nurses and 8 in 10 voters supports H. 1282 as a means of enhancing the quality and safety of patient care in Massachusetts hospitals and as a key to ending the shortage of nurses who are willing to work under the dangerous conditions created by the hospital industry.
While the Massachusetts Hospital Association wages a campaign of distortion and misinformation to stop this bill from going forward, the overwhelming evidence contradicts them at every turn. Included in this email is an article from the Sacramento Business Journal that details the tremendous growth in applications of nurses seeking to work in California, the first state to implement a law that would regulate RN to patient ratios in hospitals. The article reports that:
There’s been a 60.4 percent increase in [nursing] applications in the last three years. The numbers swelled to 35,887 in the fiscal year ended June 2003, up from 22,372 in fiscal 1999, the year the nurse-to-patient ratio law was signed . . .
As argued by the Coalition and the MNA, legislation to regulate RN-to-patient ratios in hospitals is what nurses want and need to convince them to stay in nursing, and for those that have left the hospital bedside, RN ratios will convince them to come back. Every credible study of front-line nurses attributes poor ratios as the cause of the nursing shortage, and every survey lists RN-to-patient ratios as the most important and needed solution to the shortage of nurses. Here in Massachusetts, a survey of nurses last June found that 65% of those who have left the hospital bedside would return if H. 1282 were passed. In California, this article supports this argument: “Build it (safe RN-to-patient ratios) and they (registered nurses) will come!”
According the latest research, every day we wait for this bill to be passed, a patient in a Massachusetts hospital will suffer an unnecessary and preventable complication or medication error, hundreds will suffer unnecessary pain waiting for their nurse to come to their aide, and many, far too many will die an unnecessary and tragically preventable death, simply because they are sharing their nurse with too many other patients. If you care about patient safety, join the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients and help us pass this bill. For more information, visit www.protectmasspatients.org