Legislation and Education

The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act

H.R. 2083/S.1132

 

This national bill aims to protect patients and nurses by making it mandatory for hospitals to have a nurse driven staffing committee to create autonomy by deciding safe staffing based on their patient population per unit. It also mandates a specific nurse to patient ratio based on the acuity of the unit, and requires facilities to disclose their staffing to the public.

 

  • Safe Staffing Facts – Why is this bill important?
    • The American Nurse’s Association has conducted many research studies that have shown a correlation between safety and quality of care and the number of patients assigned to a RN
      • It has been reported that 1 in 3 units have inadequate staffing levels, 96 out of 100 nurses report fatigue at the beginning of their shift, and 2 in 5 units are short staffed (American Nurse’s Association, 2015).
    • Ensuring adequate nurse to patient ratios based on acuity of unit has shown to reduce medical and medication errors, decrease mortality, improve patient satisfaction, reduce nurse fatigue which in turn reduces nurse burnout, and improves nurse retention and job satisfaction (American Nurse’s Association, 2015)
    • This bill will standardize care across the nation by making it a federal law, instead of having each state come up with their own law about safe staffing
      • Currently, 14 states have laws that address nurse staffing
      • California is the only state where it is law to have specific patient to nurse ratios based on acuity of the unit.
    • Along with safe staffing levels, it helps to ensure that registered nurses are not forced to work in a unit different from their own without an orientation.
    • The American Nurse’s Association has written multiple publications in support of passing this bill at the national level.

 

 

  • Legislative Information
    • This bill was introduced to the House of Representative on April 29, 2015.
    • The latest action was sending it to the Subcommittee on Health for committee consideration on May 1, 2015. Since then, there has been no action on the bill.
    • It is important to continue to write representatives in the House in support of the bill, so that it gets passed to the Senate, which can then be voted on by them.