ANA Supports Federal Staffing Ratios Bill
The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act (H.R.2530 and S.1113), which would establish minimum nurse to-patient-ratios for every hospital. ANA supports nurse staffing ratios as a solution to solve the current crisis. In addition to establishing minimum nurse-to-patient staffing requirements at the national level, H.R.2530 and S.1113 will help examine best practices for nurse staffing and provide whistleblower protections for nurses who choose to advocate for the safety of their patients.
State laws have been enacted to address nurse staffing levels, but these laws require adequate enforcement to promote nurse retention, to help alleviate nurse burnout and to address other challenges that nurses face daily. In addition to staffing levels, key work environment issues include workplace violence, mandatory overtime, and reimbursement/compensation. These issues have caused widespread and historic nurse strikes.
“Nurses are expected to provide excellent care, but they often work in conditions that make that exceedingly difficult. They do not get paid enough and are stretched thin in their roles and responsibilities. Nurses must practice in work environments where their professional and personal well-being is supported and protected. Policy coupled with other nurse-led staffing standards and solutions will improve nurses’ working environment and patient outcomes,” said President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.
Appropriate nurse staffing is achievable and necessary, but it requires a national response with solutions, standards, and policy. This response must recognize nurses as the drivers of solutions to adequate staffing.
“The nurse staffing crisis stems from the work environment. ANA is glad that Senator Brown and Representative Schakowsky brought new support and attention to advance this legislation and that there are members in Congress who use their platform to elevate the issues nurses face on a day-to-day basis. This legislation is an example of intentional action that demonstrates the value of nursing care and the nursing workforce,” said Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN.
Nurses know and understand how complex the health care delivery system can be. Solutions must center on their skill, patient acuity, and personal insights to nurse staffing challenges. In addition to incorporating nursing input into innovation models, those priorities must include enforceable standards and a focus on quality outcomes for patients.
ANA continues to support the nation’s more than 5 million registered nurses through addressing the need to improve the nurse workforce environment and rebuild the nursing workforce pipeline. To learn more and stay up to date on ANA’s legislative priorities, visit RNAction.org.