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Michigan nurses rally for Safe Patient Care Act

About 1000 nurses and nursing students rallied at the Michigan State Capitol today, expressing their support for a bill that would establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.

House Bill 4008, otherwise known at the Safe Patient Care Act, was introduced in January 2009 but has since languished in committee.  The Michigan Nurses Association organized the rally to draw attention to the bill — a bill many nurses say is necessary to maintain safe patient care.

California made headlines in 1999 when it introduced — and passed — a similar bill.  Despite opposition, the California bill was signed into law and took effect in 2004.  Dozens of other states currently have or are considered laws to establish nurse-to-patient ratios, despite the fact that research has yet to identify optimal nurse/patient ratios.  No action was taken on a federal bill introduced in 2005.

Nurses across Michigan support the bill, which would also abolish mandatory overtime.  The Michigan Health and Hospital Association opposes the bill.

What do you think?  Do you think state government should legislate nurse/patient ratios?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.
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