Safe Staffing Facts:
Hospitals which routinely staff with 1:8 nurse- to-patient ratios experience five additional deaths per 1,000 patients than those staffing 1:4 nurse patient ratios (Journal of the American Medical Association 2002).
The odds of patient death increases by 7% for each additional patient the nurse must take on at one time (Journal of the American Medical Associations 2002).
Support A1470/ S989
Safe Staffing For Hospitals and Surgical Care Facilities
The Human Impact Of Unsafe Staffing
- The 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. is from preventable medical errors
- Understaffing of nurses is a factor in the spread of methicillin-resistant-staph- infection (MRSA), the most dangerous and often fatal hospital acquired infection -Lancet Infectious Disease July, 2008.
- Patients cared for for in hospitals with higher RN staffing levels were 68% less likely to acquire a preventable infection according to a review of outcome data of 15,000 patients in 51 U.S. hospitals- Medical Care, June 2007.
- A 10% increase in adequate staffing and resources is associated with 17 fewer deaths per 1,000 discharged patients- Science Daily, Jan 2007.
- Up to 20,000 preventable patient deaths each year can be linked to low RN staffing. For each additional patient assigned to an RN, having four patients, the likelihood of a patient death within 30 days increased by 7%- Journal of the American Medical Association, October 22, 2002.
- Chances of a hospital patient surviving cardiac arrest are lower during the night shift because staffing is usually lower at night according to a report on 17,991 cardiac cases from 250 hospitals- Annual meeting, American Heart Association, November 2003
- Lower nurse staffing levels are a key cause of 98,000 preventable deaths each year- Institute of Medicine “Keeping Patients Safe: Transforming the Work Environment of Nurses,” November 2003.
How Safe Staffing Ratios Reduce Cost and Improve Outcomes
- RN understaffing in hospital intensive care units increase the risk of pneumonia and other preventable infections that can add thousands of dollars to the cost of care of hospital patients- Critical Care, July 19, 2007.
- Minimum ratios like A1470/S989 can avert lawsuits and higher malpractice premiums that may follow increased mortality and morbidity caused by inadequate RN staffing. A family was awarded $2.7 million after a patient death due to inadequate nurse staffing- ABC News, Jan 21, 2006
- Harvard researchers cite a 3% to 6% shorter length of stay for patients in hospitals with a high percentage of RNs, reducing costs- Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes in Hospitals, Harvard School of Public Health Report, 2001.
Example of Safe Staffing Legislation and Current NJ Staffing
What the ratios will be Current ratios around NJ
ICU 1 RN to 2 patients 1 RN to 3-4 patients
Trauma ER 1 RN to 1 patient 1 RN to 1 patient or 1 RN to 5+ patients
ER 1 RN to 4 patients 1 RN up to 10 patients
Medical/Surgical Units 1 RN to 5 patients 1 RN up to 8- 10 patients
Cardiac Monitor Unit 1 RN to 4 1 RN up to 6-8 patients
*Many nurses are not paid for the breaks they do not take. RNs do not have nurses to take over the care of their patients when they take a meal break. If a nurse takes a break another RNs assignment will be doubled and the patients are put at risk. Are you willing to take that risk?
In 2004 CA implemented these ratios, their hospitals’ quality scores improved and RN retention increased. It cost approximately $80,000- $85,000 to train new hire RN.
In 2004 California became the first state to pass a law setting safe nurse to patient ratios in acute settings, hospitals and surgical care facilities. California has a thriving medical industry and has better patient outcomes than most states.
New Jersey has failed to pass legislation to protect our patients. Why?
Myth: NJ hospital executives have told legislators that California hospitals were forced to close.
Fact: Even with the improved staffing required by the ratios law, California hospitals netted over $5 billion in profit in 2007, according to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
Fact: In 2017 California’s largest healthcare system, Kaiser Permanente’s profits rose 23% to 3.8 billion The San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2018
Myth: There is a nursing shortage and that is why hospitals do not have enough nurses.
Fact: Graduates from a 4 year college, bachelor Registered Nurse program report not being hired for 2-4 years after receiving their license.
Fact: There is a waiting list for nearly every NJ college nursing program.
Why are nurses leaving after 2-6 years of working in a hospital?
Nurses often work short staffed and fear that they will lose their licenses or worse hurt a patient.
Nurses work 12-13 hour shift without breaks, even in union facilities. If they punch out that they did not take a break they are often retaliated against.
When a nurse takes a break in California, another nurse is assigned to his or her patients. In New Jersey when a nurse takes a break, another nurse must pick of that assignment in addition to their own, doubling the amount of patients they are caring for. This can leave one nurse to care for 16-18 patients at a time.
Myth: New Jersey hospital executives scare nurses and tell them that California fired all of the unit secretaries and the patient care techs.
Fact: California hospitals have Patient care techs, unit secretaries, break nurses (designated nurses to ensure nurses labor rights aren’t violated so they can take a break) and they have lift teams that help reposition patients and improve early mobility so patients don’t get bedsores and pneumonia.
Better staffing in California actually saved hospitals $242 million- Health Affairs, January/ February 2006
If you would like to help gather signatures on a paper petition please let me know email@example.com this way we can get all of the petitions together in a central location when the time comes.