Your Vote Can Improve Healthcare:
The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act H.R. 2083, S. 1132
There is nursing shortage in America, which has been happening for a few years now and is anticipated to go extreme in the coming years. As a result of this shortage, many nurses are faced with poor conditions at work. They are forced to do overtime. They experience too much workload and even unpredictable work shift. This is often reflected as one of the major reasons why it’s been so hard for hospitals to maintain their nursing workforce and get new recruits. Also, this is the same reason of the rise in job-related diseases, work dissatisfaction and even injuries, which leads to increasing absences and turnover.
If the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (House Resolution 2083 and S. 1132), which was initiated last April, is approved by the House of Congress, this will require the Medicare affiliated medical facilities all over America to create effective plans to solve inadequate nurse staffing. Considered as a bipartisan bill as having approved by the two major political parties in the country, this is expected to reduce patients’ stay in hospitals, decrease the rate of infections, and of course, prevent treatment mistakes, medication injuries, and even deaths. As planned, a committee wll be established in each hospital that will decide the level of staffing for each particular unit. 55 percent of the committee members should be qualified nurses who are working in direct care. The legislation also includes the steps required in handling work complaints and the protection of whistle-blowers to ensure effective implementation.
About the Issue
Because of the reduced budget for nursing, along with the struggles associated with increasing nursing shortage, more and more nurses are forced to do excessive overtime everyday in order to care for patients with severe illnesses. This circumstance, obviously, can reduce the quality of care and treatment that the patients receive and of course, leads to the staff shortage as it creates a workplace that motivates the nurses to go away from the bedside.
The national and state nurses associations (the ANAs and SNAs) are one in promoting the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (House Resolution 2083 and S. 1132) that will make hospitals and medical facilities accountable for the creation as well as the implementation of an effective and trustworthy by unit staffing plan for their nurses. Although the unit by unit plan is based upon the association’s (ANA) core staffing principles, it is not a mandated ratio. It is, however, made in coordination with the nurses in the direct care and is determined upon each unit’s unique situation and evolving needs.
The Latest Update
The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083 and S.1132) was introduced by California Representative Lois Capps, Ohio Representative David Joyce, and Senator Jeff Merkley, 29nth of April 2015.
A research has shown that adding experienced nurses in each unit successfully stopped almost 1/5 of patients’ death and lessened the risks associated such as infections, medical errors and injuries. This is very timely and relevant because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services already began rejecting pays for injuries or diseases acquired in hospitals that would have been prevented. In conjunction, the private insurers will surely file a case.
If the country is to add more nurses in hospitals and other medical facilities, it can significantly cut cost to almost 3 billion dollars, an expected result of the over four million prevented longer patient stays. This can also lessen expensive patient readmissions.
At the moment, there are 7 states that have implemented this act namely: Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio, Washington, and Nevada. It has been found out that the combined, unified effort of their hospital and nurse associations as well as their nurse executives, they have greatly helped patients’ treatment and improved nurses working condition.
Show your support for H.R. 2083 and S.1132 by reaching out to your state or local representatives. Your vote can improve healthcare.
Dr. Nicole M. Brown, DNP, RN
Founder: Nursing Success College – Mentorship Program for people interested in Nursing