Nurse Staffing By Patient Acuity Bill Awaits Illinois State Senate Vote
CHICAGO, March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Senate Bill 0867, Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity, passed out of the Senate Committee and is now before the entire Senate! The deadline for all bills before the Senate is March 30th. Nurses from all over the state are urgently lobbying their legislators to support this staffing plan.
For over 100 years, the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) has been representing Illinois nurses with unwavering advocacy for workplace issues to promote patient safety and quality nursing care. INA is spearheading legislation to require nurse staffing in hospitals to be based on patient acuity (needs).
SB 867 requires each hospital throughout Illinois to implement a written staffing plan aligning patient care needs with registered nurse expertise. In addition to the baseline written staffing plan, each hospital shall further implement a patient acuity tool to provide direction in determining additional nursing staff needed due to ever-changing patient care acuity.
“The Illinois Nurses Association policy states that in order to provide quality patient care the needs of our patients must be taken into account, and linked to nurse expertise, when determining staffing needs,” said Pam Robbins, 2nd Vice-President of INA.
A state-wide mandated fixed staffing ratio does not take into consideration several factions. For example, one nurse can be assigned four patients during her shift. If any of those patients becomes acutely ill, requiring more intensive assessments or additional emergent treatments, the nurse is still expected to provide care to her entire assignment as the staffing ratio dictates. A specifically required ratio does not take into consideration the nursing staff expertise. Staffing without considering patient acuity would not be in the best interest of either the patients or the nurses.
Further, the hallmark of SB 867 is the requirement for participation of direct care staff nurses in determining both the written staffing plan and in identifying the patient acuity tool. A Nursing Care Committee, comprised of 50% direct care staff nurses, not only will identify the various staffing options in relation to patient needs and nurse expertise, but will also review the efficiency of the plan.
“Nursing literature and research support that with increased participation by nurses who are at the bedside on a day-to-day basis improves patient care outcomes and improves the working conditions for the nurse,” said, Robbins.
INA looks forward to working with other nursing organization, hospitals and legislators to create a better staffing system for Illinois hospitals. Data from the Institute of Medicine study on study on safe healthcare delivery systems demonstrates the necessity of input from the direct care registered nurses. INA’s support of an acuity-based staffing is supported in their position statements. These include, but are not limited to, the American Nurses Association, Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, American Psychiatric Nurses Association and Emergency Nurses Association.
“The Illinois Nurses Association continues to build support for SB 867 by working collectively with nurses throughout the state of Illinois. We have noted an exponential increase in the number of nurses involved in grassroots lobbying as important nursing issues are being addressed in the legislature,” said Mildred Taylor, Chair Government Relations Committee, the legislative component of the Illinois Nurses Association.
To that end, more than 2,000 nurses and student nurses are expected for Nurse Lobby Days, April 24 and 25, 2007 to discuss SB 867 and other issues before the Illinois legislature.
“As a staff nurse, I believe nurses should support staffing by patient acuity. Patient conditions can change at a moments notice, and we need to have a voice in staffing decisions that will ultimately affect patient care,” said Taylor.
INA acknowledges that hospitals vary in size, complexity of care, nursing expertise and experience. SB 867, Patient Acuity Staffing Plan, provides flexibility for each hospital to meet the ever-changing patient care acuity linked to nurse staffing with required input of direct care registered nurses.
The Illinois Nurses Association (INA), a constituent member of the American Nurses Association and the United American Nurses, AFL-CIO, is the largest professional organization representing registered nurses throughout Illinois. The INA is dedicated to advancing the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
Illinois Nurses Association
CONTACT: Amy Taylor, +1-312-419-2900, or Cell – +1-708-214-2900; or TomRenkes, +1-312-339-9509, all for Illinois Nurses Association