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MI Nurses Waging Battle for Patient Health

A new survey indicates nurse staffing issues are impacting the quality of patient care in Michigan hospitals. (Pixabay)
A new survey indicates nurse staffing issues are impacting the quality of patient care in Michigan hospitals. (Pixabay)
March 23, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Hundreds of Michigan nurses say they are ready to fight for their patients' health.

More than 300 registered nurses (RNs) and nursing students are expected at a rally at the Capitol today to call for a committee hearing on the Safe Patient Care Act.

President of the Michigan Nurses Association John Armelagos explained the measure would create a state law establishing minimum nurse-to-patient staffing and limit RNs' mandatory overtime in hospitals.

"There are no regulations in our state regarding the need of patients when they're at their most vulnerable in the hospital – that they're guaranteed to have enough nurses on each floor, on each shift, every day," he said.

Today, the Michigan Nurses Association also released a survey posted on its website that finds RNs are more likely to think the quality of patient care in the state's hospitals has gotten worse rather than better in the past two years. The survey cites staffing issues as the main reason.

There has not been much movement on the Safe Patient Care Act since it was introduced in both the House (HB 5013) and the Senate (SB 574) in October, but Armelagos said it has bipartisan support.

He noted the survey also found eight in ten nurses back the measure and believe it would improve the quality of patient care.

"The public has great support for this kind of legislation," said Armelagos. "So, the Michigan Nurses Association has moved this struggle from the past – of it being a nurse advocacy issue – to a broader struggle that involves families and patients when they're in the hospital."

Armelagos added that unsafe patient loads in hospitals can lead to negative patient outcomes, including infections, injuries, readmission, longer stays and even death.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI