LETTER: Support bill requiring safe nurse staffing levels
From app.com (Asbury Park Press), March 8, 2015
Registered Nurses (RNs) seem to be the one constant anchor that patients and family members can depend on. Limiting the number of patients assigned to a nurse is the only real way to make sure that patients are safe.
As patient advocates, New Jersey nurses fight battles with hospital nurse administrators to ensure that there are enough nurses to care for patients. When patients are denied access to a medically appropriate level of nursing care, their outcomes suffer. It’s that simple, and is totally preventable.
That’s why so many nursing groups are coming together in New Jersey to fight for a law to require all hospitals to meet the same standard of staffing. Some hospital administrators say that mandated staffing ratios are too costly. Evidence-based research disputes this. Data shows that most hospitals can afford to employ sufficient numbers of RNs to provide safe ratios.
More than 30 studies directly link safe RN staffing to reduced rates of patient deaths and post-operative complications. One study comparing California’s patient mortality rates to New Jersey’s found that New Jersey would have 14 percent fewer patient deaths if it limited patient assignments to no more than five per nurse, as is done in California.
When a call light goes on, medications are needed, and very personal questions need to be answered, we want the time to be there. That is why I am asking you to call your local state legislator and strongly encourage their vote for Senate bill 1183, which would establish safe nurse staffing levels for patients in all hospitals in New Jersey.
Martin J. Marino Jr.
Marty Marino is a member of HPAE Local 5058/Jersey Shore University Medical Center