Taken from NJSpotlight News
May 11, 2023
Hundreds of nurses rallied at the State House in Trenton, chanting, “Safe staffing saves lives!” The resident nurses called a “code red” — claiming they’re overworked, understaffed and out of patience with New Jersey healthcare systems that don’t schedule enough nurses per shift. They urged lawmakers to pass a bill setting mandatory minimum staffing requirements, especially in acute care settings like the ICU.
“Healthcare is in crisis!” said HPAE President Debbie White. She noted that stressful working conditions not only endanger patients but also make nurses quit, which exacerbates an already critical nursing shortage. “There’s a revolving door,” White said. “People come in — they leave. They come in — they leave.”
Bill co-sponsor Sen. Linda Greenstein explained, nurses need better treatment. “We have to put them in humane working conditions where they’re able to do their jobs properly. It benefits them — it benefits all of us. The minute you become a patient — it becomes your problem.”
S-304 would set enforceable nursing-staff ratios at different levels — including one nurse for every five patients in medical/surgical units; a one nurse-to-four patient ratio in intermediate and emergency units; and a one-to-two ratio in the ICU. It makes exceptions for unforeseen emergencies. The bill’s modeled on a California law enacted 19 years ago. Healthcare systems have resisted mandatory staffing, saying ratios drive up costs.