Why Safe Ratios?
The relationship between nurse staffing and patient outcomes have been studied for several years. Evidence shows that less nurses to care for patients leads to an increase in mortality. Providing safe staffing is essential for patient safety, but the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) and their partnered Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL NJ) have repeatedly opposed bills that would require hospitals to provide safe staffing. For over a decade nurse unions and nurses have asked New Jersey's elected representatives to put patients first, but our desperate pleas have been silenced. Most patients and the public don't know that there is a ratio related staffing crisis. This issue has been hidden from the public. Few politicians have supported safe staffing, and have not successfully passed a bill into law.
Senate Bill 1280 is the most comprehensive bill that has made its way to the NJ Senate, but the bill has not had the support of the health committee, and has been stalled. New Jersey is not unique to this repeated failure. California was the first state to successfully pass a law that mandated safe staffing fifteen years ago, but their road to safe staffing took approximately a decade and was not successful until they partnered with the public.
New Jersey nursing unions have met with health committee members and finally this comprehensie bill was drafted, and sent to senate on 2/8/2016 but like California's own bill it has lacked the support of the nurses. We cannot expect a bill to be passed that protects our patients if we ourselves do not do the work that is needed to get this bill into the light and become a topic for discussion during this year's election cycle. Waiting for a new governor is a missed opportunity.
NEW- Please take a look at newly introduced bill A5056 for safe staffing! Your feedback is needed!
Read Senate Bill 1280