NJ may soon limit number of patients per nurse

Taken from New Jersey 101.5
July 31, 2018

By Patrick Lavery

EMERSON — New Jersey lawmakers have not been as quick to act as in California, where it is already law, or Massachusetts, where it will be a ballot initiative this fall. But there is at least a measure introduced in both houses of the Legislature that would set patient limits for nurses in hospitals across the state.

Ann Twomey, a registered nurse and president of Health Professionals & Allied Employees, said improper nursing ratios can result in longer hospital stays, administration of incorrect medications, and even patient deaths, though she said lack of proof of these potential outcomes has been a criticism from those who want to resist setting limits.

She said this is not a selfish request from the nursing profession.

“Every single nurse who practices nursing in a hospital on a day-to-day basis in a staff position will say to you that this is their No. 1 issue,” Twomey said. “It doesn’t give nurses more money. It doesn’t give them more benefits. It gives them the tools they need to be able to provide the care that they feel that they need.”

Nurses know, Twomey said, that in order to give the right care, a facility must have the right number of nurses. All too often now, nurses are choosing to work part-time instead of full-time because of the rigors of the job, and limiting the number of patients they see would guard against that.

Part of the problem, however, is that not all nurses are unionized, so they don’t always have a say — and hospitals take advantage by cutting corners.

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