Healthy staffing for nurses

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At its monthly meeting on June 13, Local 888’s Executive Board voted to support the Patient Safety Act, a ballot initiative that will be on the November ballot. If enacted, this law would require hospitals to have minimum staffing levels, depending on the type of unit.

For example, emergency room nurses would be allowed to care for between one and five patients, depending on the patients’ condition.

The ballot question has been put forward by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) and the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care.

A recent survey of registered nurses in Massachusetts performed by the MNA said that 77 percent said unsafe patient assignments are a problem. In addition, nearly two-thirds reported injury and harm to patients due to staffing levels.

“Every patient has a right to safe and effective nursing care,” said MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams. “Unfortunately, outside of intensive care units, there is no law limiting the number of patients who can be assigned to a nurse at one time in Massachusetts hospitals.”

Members who would like to support the campaign by displaying a lawn sign or bumper sticker should contact Local 888’s political director Tom McKeever at tmckeever@seiu888.org

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