Oregon hospital CNO: Nurse-to-patient ratios don't work during a shortage

As Oregon's House legislature prepared for its first hearing on House Bill 2697, which seeks to enact minimum staffing requirements for hospital nurses, Asante Health System's chief nursing officer said this plan is "currently unattainable," the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported Feb. 28.

The bill proposes requiring hospitals to determine staffing requirement plans for direct care registered nurses and imposing penalties on sites that break these nurse-to-patient ratio standards.

"We must recognize the barriers to adequate staffing and the national shortage before imposing regulations on hospitals for compliance that is currently unattainable," Amanda Kotler, RN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of the Medford, Ore.-based system, told the outlet.

Ms. Kotler said she wonders if a nurse already at the maximum patient load would be allowed to treat a trauma patient who arrives by ambulance.

"These are our biggest fears, especially in rural areas," she said.

Kelly McNitt, BSN, RN, director of nursing services at John Day, Ore.-based Blue Mountain Hospital, told the Chronicle this "one-size-fits-all model" won't work for rural hospitals.

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