Members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Ohio and elected officials will gather at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus this morning in support of proposed legislation that would set specific limits on the numbers of patients each RN can care for in hospitals throughout the state.
The Ohio Patient Protection Act, which is being reintroduced by Ohio Sen. Michael Skindell, is modeled after a California law that studies have shown saved patient lives, improved quality of care and reduced burnout among nurses, according to a statement from the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Ohio, which is part of National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the country, representing over 150,000 registered nurses nationwide.
Currently, there is no limit to the number of patients that nurses care for at one time in Ohio hospitals.
“With no limit on the number of patients we care for, we have a safety crisis on our hands in Ohio; hospital administrators are free to cut corners on staffing and put their bottom line over patient safety,” said Debra McKinney, a registered nurse at Affinity Medical Center in Massillon. “We need a mandatory, non-negotiable limit to the number of patients each nurse cares for in order to protect our patients from harm—and also to protect nurses and other healthcare staff.”
Numerous studies have shown a link between RN staffing and patient care, according to Rhonda Risner, a registered nurse at Dayton VA Medical Center.
“Studies have shown again and again that safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios save lives,” Risner said “We applaud Sen. Skindell for standing up for Ohio patients, and we hope the Ohio senate will stand with us, to say that the people of Ohio deserve — with the passage of the Ohio Patient Protection Act — the kind of focused care that nurses can only provide when hospital corporations are held accountable for staffing at safe levels.”