Massachusetts nurses rally for ballot initiative mandating staffing ratios, blast hospital execs opposing them

Massachusetts nurses rallied for mandated nurse staffing ratios during a news conference Aug. 21, according to The Republican.

The nurses, who are members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, held a news conference outside the corporate offices of Partners Healthcare in Somerville, Mass. They claimed opposition to the proposed November ballot initiative to mandate nurse staffing ratios in Massachusetts hospitals is about "multimillionaire hospital executives and multibillion dollar hospital corporations."

"These corporate giants are spending millions of dollars in deceptive ads that hide the fact of who is really leading the campaign to prevent nurses from having a safe patient assignment," the union said in a prepared statement.

However, Deborah Cronin-Waelde, RN, MSN, CNO of Medford, Mass.-based MelroseWakefield Healthcare, who opposes the ballot measure, told The Republican the measure is not about executive salaries or hospital profits but rather "the government legislating how professionally licensed nurses care for patients."

Question 1, proposed by the union, calls for one nurse to be responsible for no more than four pediatric patients and no more than five psychiatric patients at a given time. Different guidelines would apply with sicker patients, according the Boston Globe. Staffing ratios would also differ by unit.

Supporters of the initiative argue mandated nurse staffing ratios will improve patient care. They contend nurses are overworked, which keeps them from doing their best job and could lead to medical errors, the Globe reported.

Opponents say the ratios will negatively affect nurse care delivery. They argue that some hospitals would be forced to close or reduce services due to the costs associated with hiring new nurses, according to The Republican.


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