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Arizona Nurses Rally at Capitol for Patient Safety - Thursday
Date:2/12/2008

e retention and

recruitment of RNs.

-- Whistle-blower protection for RNs who report unsafe hospital conditions

or for refusing unsafe patient care assignments.

-- Legal recognition of the right of RNs to act as advocates for their

patients rather than for the economic interests of their hospital

employer.

"HB 2041 would dramatically improve our ability to provide care," said Tracey Chavez, a lithotripsy RN at Catholic Healthcare West St. Joe's Hospital. "Too frequently RNs encounter unsafe situations where they simply have too many patients. We are forced into making decisions that compromise our ability to provide the best patient care versus the risk of losing or maintaining our jobs. I know the ratios in California are working, nurses are returning to hospitals. We need this legislation in order to provide a higher level of care for our patients and to see nurses return to the profession they love."

The Act's ratios are modeled after the successful 1999 law in California that was strengthened again on January 1. Ratios differ by hospital area, such as a minimum of no less than one RN for every five patients in general medical or post-surgical care units, 1:4 in pediatrics, and 1:4 in emergency rooms. The ratios are a floor, not a ceiling, with hospitals also required to increase registered nurse staffing as needed based on individual patient illness or acuity.

"Hospitals have a responsibility to staff properly in order for nurses to provide quality care for patients. Hospitals aren't doing that," said Diane Baker, an RN at Flagstaff Medical Center. "The Arizona Patient Protection Act requires staffing levels, at all times, based on the acuity of the patient. This will save lives and allow us to provide the care that our fellow Arizonians deserve."

"California's ratios are a spectacular success story," said Zenei Cortez, RN, member of the NNOC/CNA Council of Presidents. "Under our ratio
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SOURCE National Nurses Organizing Committee
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