News & Events

Registered Nurses to Set Up Camp at State House Beginning April 25th

Nurses to Leaflet the State House on April 25th as Hospital CEOs Hold Annual Lobby Day, Will Provide True Picture of Hospital Safety

What: Frontline registered nurses and other allied health care advocates plan to make their presence known to legislators in the coming weeks, as the issue of hospital safety and the need for safe limits on the number of patients assigned to a nurse takes center stage in the House debate over a new budget for fiscal year 2007. The Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Massachusetts Hospital Association have both filed competing amendments to deal with a growing crisis in patient safety in the state’s acute care hospitals. The nurses’ measure would call for setting safe limits on the number of patients assigned to a nurse, while the MHA proposal calls for maintaining the dangerous status quo, with no changes in current staffing patterns in hospitals.

The activity will kick off in earnest on Tuesday, April 25th, the day hospital CEOs will hold their annual lobby day at the State House. The nurses intend to use the day to educate legislators about the true performance of the hospital industry, which posted a $1 billion profit in 2005, while providing sub standard, and in many cases, dangerous care to patients. An official report released two weeks ago shows Massachusetts ranks 22nd in the nation in patient safety, with staffing levels that have contributed to a number of preventable medical errors and patient deaths, with the majority attributable to understaffing of registered nurses. A survey of recent patients in the state’s hospitals conducted last March found that one in four patients reported their safety was compromised during their hospital stay due to understaffing. The scientific research clearly shows that when nurses have fewer patients, patients get better care, medical errors are reduced, and millions of dollars are saved.

Who: A delegation of frontline nurses (with different nurses attending on different days) will be at the State House on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on April 25th. Frontline nurses will continue a weekly presence at the State House to push for passage of the Safe RN Staffing Law, H. 2663.

Where: Nurses will gather outside the main entrance (near the Hooker Statue) to leaflet and talk to legislators and the public entering the building, while also making visits to their local legislators.

When: The campaign begins at 8:30 a.m. on April 25, 2006

Contact: Charles Rasmussen at 781.363.0728 or David Schildmeier at 781.249.0430 for more information, fact sheets on the safe staffing legislation, or to interview nurses participating in the campaign.