I am writing to urge you, as my elected representative, to support the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act (S. 1357), which was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown.
As a registered nurse, I see first hand how patients lives are put in danger when nurses are understaffed. Across the country, RNs are routinely required to care for far more patients than is safe - putting the quality of patient care at risk and negatively impacting patient outcomes. Studies have shown that understaffing of registered nurses leads to preventable patient injuries, illness, and death.
Currently, there is no federal mandate that regulates the number of patients a registered nurse can care for at one time. The legislation introduced by Senator Brown would implement mandatory minimum nurse to patient ratios, modeled after the highly successful law that has been in place in California hospitals since 2004. Nurse to patient ratios in California have saved thousands of lives, improved the quality of patient care, and kept experienced RNs at the bedside. Indeed, registered nurses flock to California because of the much improved health and safety for both them, and their patients. These ratios should be in place nationwide.
I hope that you will support the needs of registered nurses and our patients, and cosponsor S. 1357.