Overwhelming majorities of nurses identify safe staffing as the most important issue they face at work. Techs and other health professionals say the same: that we can’t give our patients the care they need when we’re forced to juggle unsafe assignments and care for too many patients at once.
We fight for safe staffing on multiple fronts:
In our contracts
PASNAP members consistently win contracts that improve staffing. As union members, we have a legal right to negotiate with management as equals. We use that process to advocate for — and win — real staffing improvements in our facilities. Examples include:
- Implementing enforceable staffing grids
- Requiring hospitals to hire and retain hundreds of new nurses
- Creating new “Resource Nurse” positions to assist with administrative tasks, allowing bedside nurses to spend more time directly engaged with patients
- Establishing “sister units” to ensure that nurses aren’t pulled to units where they lack necessary training experience
In the Legislature
Nurses in California were able to band together and implement safe staffing ratios statewide. The law has been enormously beneficial for patients and — despite what administrators would have us believe — has not led to any issues in their healthcare booming industry. Sisters and brothers in Massachusetts are on the verge of winning safe staffing limits through a ballot initiative.
We can win staffing improvements in Pennsylvania, but only if we build a real grassroots movement of nurses and patients demanding action on our legislation.
- Staffing Transparency
(House Bill 833 and Senate Bill 336) - Unfortunately, most hospitals are very tight- lipped when it comes to their nurse staffing. This bill would require hospitals to gather and report information, making them more accountable and allowing consumers to make better choices on their care.
- Safe Staffing Limits
(House Bill 1500 and Senate Bill 214) - Modeled on the legislation already implemented in California, this bill would establish safe limits on the number of patients who can be assigned to a single RN. These limits, often called “nurse-to- patient ratios,” are formulated using well established best practices based on patient needs and acuity. By doing so, we can ensure that patients receive proper care.
Studies show that nurse staffing is a leading indicator for overall patient satisfaction. But many in the public — patients, families, and others — don’t understand how much staffing impacts quality of care. Through reports, events, and other actions, we work to raise awareness and help build broader support for safe staffing as a vital piece of safe patient care.