Four of the region’s largest nurses’ unions have joined together in an historic partnership to call on legislators to support the new Nurse-to-Patient Ratio bill being introduced for Nurses Week.
On Wednesday, May 6, at 12 noon in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, Nurse Alliance of SEIU nurses partnered with three other unions in the Pennsylvania area – the American Federation of Labor-Congress for Industrial Organization (AFL_CIO), Jersey Nurses Economic Security Organization (JNESO), and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals (PASNAP), – and gathered at the capitol to urge legislators to support a new House bill that would institute concrete, minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for hospitals and other healthcare facilities in our state.
May 6 marked the beginning of Nurses Week, a nationally recognized time to honor nurses for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the well-being and care of their patients and communities. These nurses continue that commitment by standing up to advocate for this legislation that would mean better health outcomes for all involved.
“For years, nurses have been advocating for safe registered nurse-to-patient staffing ratios,” said Mona Hartle, RN and local president for JNESO District Council 1 at Pocono Medical Center. “Research and experience have proven time and time again that safe staffing ratios are the solution to the preventable infections, hospital errors, and patient deaths that occur in hospitals throughout our state. Today, healthcare organizations from every corner of the state have come together to say the same thing – we need to pass safe staffing ratios, not committees, and we need to pass them now.”
“Countless studies have shown that minimum nurse-to-patient ratios saves lives and improves patient outcomes,” said Deborah Bonn, RN and director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare PA. “Not only that, they actually reduce overall healthcare costs, while helping to cure nurse job dissatisfaction and burnout. Passing this legislation is the right move for Pa.”
Joining area nurses and state Representatives for the announcement on Wednesday was Pa. State Senator Daylin Leach, sponsor of a similar nurse-to-patient ratios bill currently being considered in the state Senate.
Nurses also spoke out against another piece of legislation being considered in the House – House Bill 476, a bill that proposes to solve the staffing crisis by creating staffing committees in hospitals.
“Misguided legislation like HB476 does not require safe standards the way the DiGirolamo & Ravenstahl bill would,” said PASNAP President Patricia Eakin, RN. “Unlike committees, which purport to address staffing while failing to hold hospitals accountable, ratios provide real, scientifically-demonstrated protections. Bedside nurses across Pennsylvania agree that we need a law that guarantees minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.”
State Reps. DiGirolamo and Ravenstahl will seek cosponsors for their bill through next week and will introduce the legislation in the House on May 12, the final day of Nurses Week.