Massachusetts union regroups after defeat of nurse staffing initiative

The union behind a proposal to implement mandatory nurse staffing ratios in Massachusetts is considering how to move forward after voters defeated the measure during midterm elections, MassLIVE.com reported.

Question 1 sought to mandate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, which varied by unit, floor or department.

David Schildmeier, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, did not provide details to MassLIVE.com about plans from this point on. However, he said the union will "evaluate all options that are available to us and determine what's the best course of action."

"You can be sure that nurses will do whatever is necessary to protect their patients. The current conditions in hospitals are dangerousness and cannot be sustained," he told the website.

Supporters of the measure argued nurse staffing ratios will improve patient care, while the hospital industry and other opponents said mandated nurse-to-patient ratios will worsen nurse care delivery, lead to longer emergency room wait times and hurt community hospitals and mental health facilities.

Both sides agreed the ballot initiative has raised awareness about nurse staffing.

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