Nursing Notes

November 4, 2009

Healthcare Advocates Demand More Nurses

When I found this article, my first thought was, “Oh, another article about why staffing ratios won’t work.”  So then I read the entire article to see if I was right.

Wrong!  This is a new approach to safe staffing laws.  Instead of coming from the nurses’ perspective, it is coming from the patients’ or families’ viewpoint.
That is wonderful.  Maybe if enough patients or family members speak up about the terrible staffing, something really would get done.

I work at a hospital where it is expected that each nurse will have 8-9 patients at the least.  Granted, these are ambulatory patients–so no IV’s, no oxygen, no ventilators, etc.  However, these are psychiatric patients who are unpredictable and can become aggressive quite easily.  Some days, just passing medication takes up all of my time.  Some days, my focus is on one specific patient who is having trouble and may become out of control.

I cannot imagine caring for 8-10 medically compromised patients at all.  How on earth can one person be in 8 or 10 places at one time?  To expect that to happen is simply crazy.

Read the article below and see what I mean.


By Justine Judge
Story Published: Nov 2, 2009 at 7:25 PM EST
Story Updated: Nov 2, 2009 at 7:25 PM EST

Healthcare advocates are warning that there aren’t enough nurses to go around and it is taking its toll on patient care.

John Bennett is one of many healthcare advocates hoping to see a change in patient care. Bennett was at his wife’s bedside at Mercy Medical Center for months as she battled cancer. He knows first hand how difficult it can be.

“The monitor alarm would go off and nobody would come. We would press the nurse’s button and nobody would come. I would go out in the hall and all of the lights would be on with every single room saying they needed a nurse. Well, there just weren’t enough nurses,” Bennett said.

Not having enough nurses is something they want to change through the Patient Safety Act which goes before a legislative health committee Tuesday in Boston. If passed, the legislation would call upon the State Health Department to set safe limits on how many patients a nurse can care for at once.

Stephen Mikelis is a Staff Nurse at Mercy. He said patients are not getting the care they deserve.

“Nurses are having to take care of seven patients during the day, and sometimes at night they are having to take care of nine or 10 patients. A safe patient load per RN should be four patients per nurse,” Mikelis said.

Mark Fulco is the senior vice president for the Sisters of Providence. He said the proposed “one size fits all” strategy is the wrong prescription for Massachusetts and will only increase patient cost.

“Nurse staffing needs to be based on the equity of the patient. Each individual patients needs are different and the professional nurses need the flexibility to determine what care is most appropriate for each patient and in what quantity,” Fulco said.

If passed, the bill would prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses.

Healthcare Advocates Demand More Nurses | CBS 3 Springfield – News and Weather for Western Massachusetts | Local News

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