On 05/08/2019, a bill (HR 2581) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Public Health Service Act. It would establish federal staffing guidelines for nurses in hospitals. Unfortunately, the bill stalled in committee, and was never brought to the floor for a vote. The proposed staffing ratios were as follows:
|Trauma Emergency Unit||1:1|
|Operating Room (One additional person must serve as a scrub assist.)||1:1|
|Critical Care Units||2:1|
|Emergency Room Units; Pediatric Units; Stepdown Units; Telemetry Units; Antepartum Units; and combined Labor, Delivery, & Postpartum Units||3:1|
|Medical-Surgical Units, Intermediate Care Nursery Units, Acute Psychiatric Care Units, and Other Specialty Care Units||4:1|
|Rehabilitation Units and Skilled Nursing Units||5:1|
|Postpartum (3 mom & baby couplets) and Well-Baby Nursery Units||6:1|
- Do you believe these are reasonable staffing ratios? Why or why not? Would there be an economic impact on hospitals if these ratios were enacted?
2. Since this bill “died in committee”, no further action was taken on it. How can we, as nurses, get a nurse-to-patient staffing ratio passed on a state or federal level?
3. What kinds of difficulties do nurse leaders(notstaff nurses) have where you work (or in an agency with which you are familiar) when it comes to scheduling and staffing? Would this kind of proposed staffing ratio help?