FRAMINGHAM – In my many years of experience as a nurse, I have worked with countless nurses who do an amazing job of managing the complex patient care situations they face every day. We should always strive to improve the quality and experience of care that is provided in MA hospitals but we must do so in a mindful way. For many reasons, the mandated staffing ratios being proposed on the November ballot are not going to improve healthcare.
Professional autonomy is a cornerstone of professional nursing practice. Nurses are the ones in the best position to determine the needs of their patients. Staffing is complex, dynamic, and multi-faceted. It is important for professional nurses to have the flexibility to determine how to best meet the needs of their patients under frequently changing circumstances. This proposed law would take away that autonomy and flexibility that is so crucial to patient care.
Research on nurse staffing and quality measures has been conducted for many years, both before and after California instituted mandatory ratios in January 2014. The evidence from this research shows that there has been no improvement in patient safety, quality of care, or patient satisfaction as a result of implementing RN staffing ratios.
But there have been unintended consequences that mandated ratios have contributed to which include increased wait time in emergency departments, cuts to non-nurse staffing, reductions or elimination of services, decreases in the number of available beds, and even closure of hospitals. These types of consequences seriously impact access to the health care system, the make-up of the health care team, and the additional responsibilities of the nurses.
As a nurse, I ask you to please consider the facts and vote NO on November 6.
Leave the decision making to the nurses who know the work – it is more than a numbers game!
Nursing Quality Innovation Leader