Sample Letter to Editor on Massachusetts Ballot on Nurse-Patients Limits

12 August 2018


Al Sylvia


Daily Times Chronicle


Dear Sylvia:

As an aspiring nursing professional with roots in Massachusetts, having been born and raised in Woburn, Massachusetts, the outcome of the upcoming ballot in November 2018 is of uttermost importance to me. I am writing to express my concern that a Yes vote for the Ballot Question #1 on Nurse-Patients Limits will fundamentally change healthcare provision and set a wrong precedent on the limitations of the government when it comes to shaping professions with industry standards and professional freedom.

The healthcare occupation in Massachusetts and throughout the country is not short of highly qualified and competent professionals who are capable of making decisions on their own, without the involvement of the state or even federal government. The nurse-patient ratio assigned at every healthcare facility or the healthcare industry at large is based on numerous scientific researches that have proved their effectiveness in achieving health outcomes. I, therefore, find the proposed limitations dangerous and lacking evidence, the benchmark of effective healthcare practices.

Moreover, these first-rate healthcare professionals make decisions on a case-by-case basis. The nurse-patient ratio is not a decision that is carved on stone. It can be altered based on the situation or the healthcare needs of a patient, and in most cases, it is based on the industry standards, which are replicated at the level of world-class hospitals in the state. These health institutions have highly qualified and experienced nurses who are assigned to patients based on the hospitals’ policies and industry standards. Our hospitals are well staffed and should have the liberty of assigning as many nurses as possible to patients depending on their health care needs and the industry standards and not because the government has given a limiting directive. It can be costly and dangerous for both the patient and healthcare facilities to embrace an unproven staffing mandate that is not grounded on any scientifically variable data.

I have witnessed the benefit of a healthcare facility having the liberty to make critical decisions on a case-by-case basis. A few years ago, my relative who was a maternity patient with no urgent medical condition, developed sudden life-threatening complications that a single nurse, as proposed in Ballot Question #1, could not handle. However, the hospital had initially assigned two nurses on her case and had one additional nurse on standby in case of any emergencies within the healthcare facility. The flexibility and scalability of the nurse staffing at the facility saved not only her life but that of her baby.

I am wary of the proposed limitations because it will set a dangerous precedent for not only the healthcare industry but also other sectors. Ballot Question #1 is a manifestation of the state government’s efforts to overregulate an industry without due course or justifiable reason. The government’s oversight role should not extend and overarch into the roles of other industry players. Like any sector, the healthcare one is generally semi-autonomous and self-regulating.

Nurses are tasked with caring for patients. It is a calling that requires flexibility, dedication, and passion. It is a duty that is performed with utmost dedication that extends beyond some government mandates or limitations. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are highly trained, skilled, and vastly experienced. Hence, are capable of making decisions based on industry and facility standards as well as on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you for taking your valuable time to read this letter and consider my views on this important issue and continued support for professional accountability and evidence-based best practices in the nursing industry.



[Student’s Name]