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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2018 01:43 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Safe Nurse Staffing
I am reintroducing House Bill 2092 of last session, legislation addressing the issue of safe nurse staffing in hospitals.

As a registered nurse, I know firsthand that proper nurse staffing is crucial to the safety and quality of nursing care delivered in our healthcare facilities. Studies show that appropriate staffing levels contribute to better patient outcomes, improved satisfaction among nurses and a decrease in healthcare costs. A 2015 report issued by the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission entitled “Professional Bedside Nursing in Pennsylvania” indicated that “The evidence reviewed in this study demonstrates a clear relationship between nurse staffing and patient outcomes.”

The bill does not contain state legislated ratios, and instead addresses this issue by establishing professional nurse staffing committees through collaborative efforts of the bedside nurses and hospital administration. This will allow for an individualized plan based on the unique characteristics of each patient unit, the patient’s level of illness, skill mix of staff, and the technology and services available to the bedside nurse. According to the American Nurses Association, 7 states (Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington) require hospitals to have staffing committees responsible for plans (nurse-driven ratios) and staffing policy.

Every day in hospitals across Pennsylvania staffing activities bring nurses and their patients together for the delivery of care. Even before the support of technology and research, the constant has been the decision-making abilities of the professional nurse. Allowing bedside nurses to be a part of nurse staffing decisions and having the opportunity to use their expertise is in the best interests of patients, the care team and the hospital.

With the changing healthcare environment involving direct care nurses and other members of the staff in decisions related to staffing assures that patient needs and staff competencies are appropriately matched, yielding better results for patients and staff alike. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association supports this measure.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB63