Got enough nurses? Nurse groups cite Kentucky case to support push for staffing ratio laws

Source: Sabriya Rice, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 45 no. 43, October 24, 2015
(subscription required)

Nursing groups and some safety experts say inadequate nurse staffing is a widespread problem. In June, Massachusetts passed a mandatory ICU nurse staffing law. Similar bills are pending in other states, and there’s a bill in Congress to require hospitals to closely track staffing levels. …. Prior to the Massachusetts law, California was the only state to require healthcare facilities to have a set ratio of nurses per patient. The state’s law took effect in 2004. California remains the only state to have ratios for most types of hospital units. Its law requires that hospitals have one registered nurse for every two intensive- or critical-care patients; one RN for every four mother-baby sets in the post-partum unit; one RN for every five patients on continuous cardiac-care monitoring; and one RN for every six psychiatric unit patients. ….