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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 12:24 pm | A Few Clouds 59º

 
 
 
 

Capps Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Patient Care, Support Nurses

On Wednesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Rep. David Joyce of Ohio reintroduced the bipartisan Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act, a bill that would improve patient care and support nurses in health care facilities.

The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083) would require hospitals to implement a staffing system that ensures an appropriate proportion of registered nurses on each shift and in each unit of the hospital to guarantee high-quality patient care. These plans would be developed by the individual institutions through a committee structure with strong nurse participation.

“Safe staffing levels are crucial to not only nurse retention, but to patient outcomes,” Capps said. “We must promote nurse staffing practices that lead to safe and healthy work environments, which in turn lead to improved quality of care for each and every patient. As a former nurse, I am proud to work on this important public health issue with my colleague Mr. Joyce.”

“My wife is a full-time nurse, so I know first-hand how important it is that we maintain safe staffing levels so patients can get the care they need and deserve,” Joyce said. “This legislation will make care safer and better for every patient that needs it, that’s why this is a bipartisan issue.”

Appropriate staffing levels allow nurses the time they need to make patient assessments, thoroughly complete nursing tasks, respond to health care emergencies, and provide the level of care that their patients deserve. Additionally, proper staffing levels also increase nurse satisfaction and reduce staff turnover, an important priority given today’s nursing shortage.

The bill does not set a specific nurse-patient ratio for hospitals to meet, but rather provides flexibility to tailor nurse staffing to the specific needs of each unit based on factors including how sick the patient is, the experience of the nursing staff, available technology, and the support services available to the nurses.

More specifically, the bill requires Medicare participating hospitals to create a staffing committee, made up of at least 55 percent direct care nurses, charged with developing unit-specific nurse staffing plans. This approach treats nurses as professionals and empowers them to have a real decision-making role in the care they provide.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

 

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