Nurses are gathering in the Capitol Rotunda this morning to urge lawmakers to support what the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association calls major change: Safe staffing legislation.
“Safe staffing legislation ensures that nurses and administrators collaborate to determine the appropriate nurse staffing levels on a given hospital unit without mandating specific ratios,” Betsy M. Snook, chief executive officer of PSNA, said in a news release.
“Challenges of a growing nursing shortage have resulted in fewer nurses who are working longer hours and caring for sicker patients. This legislation is simple commonsense.”
According to the PSNA website, the plan the nurses support is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to staffing but instead allows each medical facility to tailor staffing plans based on the unique factors of each patient unit. Factors include patient acuity, experience of the nursing staff and the skill mix of the staff, available technology and support services available to the nurses.
House Bill 1880 of the 2011-12 legislative session, which PSNA supported, was referred to the Committee on Health in September 2011. It called for imposition of an administrative penalty of $1,000 per day on any hospital not in compliance with the standards.
A PSNA website posting said “the most contentious barrier to passage” was negotiations with the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania “over the voice of the staff nurse in the development of a staffing plan for individual hospital units.”