Minnesota nurses might soon be able to set their staffing ratios

The Minnesota Nursing Association is building support for a proposed law that could give nurses greater say over patient-ratios, the Alexandria Echo Press reported March 7.

The legislation, named Keep Nurses at the Bedside, would require hospitals to form staffing committees with at least half of the members being nurses or other caregivers. The committee would set the minimum staffing levels and hospitals would be graded by the health commissioner on how well those staffing plans are met.

Currently, there are no laws in Minnesota limiting the number of patients a nurse can be assigned to at a given time. 

The Minnesota Hospital Association opposes the bill, warning it would lead to unit closures, rising costs, longer wait times for patients and the loss of services communities rely on.

"If enacted, this proposal would have a drastic, negative impact on patient care," the Minnesota Hospital Association said in a statement shared with the Echo Press. "Patient needs are continually evolving, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of flexibility at the bedside."

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