Nursing Union Launches Safe Staffing Site

The American Nurses Association launched a new Web site Dec. 7 to advance its members' cause of safe staffing laws around the country that allow ratios to be determined by nurses and facility managers, not by legislators or government officials. ANA, a union, said it supports the establishment of nurse-patient ratios but "feels strongly" the ratios must be set "in the workplace in direct coordination with nurses themselves, and based on unit-by-unit circumstances and needs."

The site is www.safestaffingsaveslives.org/. ANA said its proposal tailors nurse staffing to the specific needs of each unit, based on factors including patient acuity, the experience of the nursing staff, the skill mix of the staff, available technology, and the support services available to the nurses. This empowers nurses to play a decision-making role, much as OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard requires that managers consult with health care workers and allow them to evaluate safe sharps alternatives.

"Recent studies have demonstrated what most health care consumers already know: nursing care and quality patient care are inextricably linked," ANA said in its launch announcement. "Massive reductions in nursing budgets, combined with the challenges presented by a growing nursing shortage, have resulted in fewer nurses working longer hours and caring for sicker patients. This situation compromises care and contributes to the nursing shortage by creating an environment that drives nurses from the bedside."

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