California’s nurse-to-patient ratio legislation

“I [used to] go home and be falling asleep and would wake myself up thinking, “Oh my God! Did I do such and such? Did I tell the next nurse about this or that?” Because you’re so rushed you would be continually questioning, ‘Did I get everything done, was everybody safe?'”

Martha Kuhl, RN, and other veteran nurses reflect on the benefits of the Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Legislation, which passed in ’04, in this week’s LA Times articles, “Many Nursing Jobs, but Only the Strong Need Apply.”

Does this type of legislation limiting the number of patients that a nurse can care for on any given shift lead to workplace satisfaction and better nurse retention at hospitals and clinics?

The California Nurses Assn.,which sponsored the legislation, cites the increase of 100,000 licensed nurses in the state of California since 2004 as proof in the pudding.

Says Martha Kuhl:

“I didn’t consider leaving the profession, but I know a lot of nurses did. I know a lot of nurses told me they wouldn’t tell their sons or daughters to become a nurse. But I was one of the people who chose to work hard to get regulations and to make improvements in my collective bargaining agreements so that I could stay a nurse.

Because I like being a nurse, I want to provide patient care, I want to be a patient advocate.”

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