We have the chance to help nurses around the country. Nurse burnout and shortages have increased during the pandemic, but the pandemic also brought awareness. A bill has been introduced in the Senate that seeks to create minimum nurse staffing ratios that takes acuity into account – the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2021. Patients are sicker than ever and need more time and attention from their nurses. A minimum staffing ratio means that there is a limit to the number of patients that a nurse can be assigned. California has had mandatory minimum staffing ratios since 1999, and evidence shows that it results in better patient outcomes, less nurse burnout and turnover. Despite this evidence, no other state has this rule in place. The ‘Nurse Staffing Standards’ bill has the opportunity to help nurses and patients alike across the country. Unfortunately, this bill has become sequestered in a committee since the day it was introduced AND the term for consideration is rapidly ending. Our current Senator’s term is ending, and he is not seeking re-election. We can let our next senator know that the health and wellbeing of our nurses and patients matter to us. And maybe they will help reintroduce this bill for 2022-23 consideration.
– Emily Brozowski BSN, RN, CCRN