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Minnesota Registered Nurses Promote Law to Improve Patient Care and Address Health Care Costs
Date:2/25/2008

Staffing for Patient Safety Legislation Essential to Reduce Patient Suffering and Achieve Affordable Health Care

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The critical condition of affordable health care today can be addressed with legislation advanced by the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). The organization announced today it will champion "Staffing For Patient Safety" legislation that requires all Minnesota hospitals to adhere to maximum patient assignment limits and incorporate clinical nursing judgment in implementing staffing plans. As a condition of licensure, hospitals must establish staffing plans that include direct input from front line nurses and publicly post and report those plans to the Minnesota Department of Health. The proposed legislation follows the release of extensive research and reports that clearly demonstrate that adequate RN staffing produces dramatic cuts in patient mortality, leads to reduced hospital costs and patient lengths of stay, prevents medical errors and helps retain and recruit nurses to the bedside.

"Reforming the health care system is a high priority in the 2008 legislative session and members of the Minnesota Nurses Association are delivering a high touch/high impact solution designed to reduce grief, suffering and cost," said MNA President, Linda Slattengren, RN.

In today's jargon, these consequences are termed "negative outcomes" or "adverse events," but nurses are daily witnesses to patients in pain, lives that are lost and families in crisis, and know much of it preventable because many of them are due to deliberate decisions to inadequately staff a unit. Nurses have come to recognize this crisis is one of priority, planning and resource allocation.

Methods used to make nursing assignments and schedules fail to reflect the significant variations in the care needs of patients. Formulas for assigning nursing staff do not adequately account for patient acuity levels or
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SOURCE Minnesota Nurses Association
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