Illinois nurses lobby for staffing ratios

Illinois registered nurses are lobbying state lawmakers in support of mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospital units 24 hours a day, according to NBC-affiliate station WEEK.

California is the only state with mandatory nurse staffing ratios. Now National Nurses United union in Illinois seeks legislation similar to California law, which establishes nurse-to-patient ratios for acute care, acute psychiatric and specialty hospitals. The ratios vary by type of care.

In a news release, the union said patient health is compromised because too few nurses must care for too many patients.

"Mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios save lives," said Talisa Harden, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medicine. "As nurses, we've always known it, and now there is a robust body of peer-reviewed literature that proves it. Illinois patients deserve safe and therapeutic care no matter where they are admitted. This bill will make all Illinois patients safer."

State Rep. Theresa Mah is sponsoring the legislation, along with co-sponsor state Rep. Will Guzzardi, while Illinois Sen. Omar Aquino is sponsoring the Senate version, along with co-sponsor Sen. Robert Peters.

The union said the Illinois bill is modeled after California law, but it would also mandate minimum staffing standards in long term acute-care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.


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