Friday, March 1, 2013

Safe Staffing

Nothing is as important to health care as patient safety.  Doctors take an oath to "first do no harm".  That oath applies to everyone in health care, whatever their role.  One of the important factors in patient safety is adequate staffing.  In this tight economy it is important to remember this.  The pressures to cut staff to the minimum are large but we must guard against ever cutting to the point were safety is compromised. 
In Connecticut, we have legislation that says each hospital should have a safe staffing committee to monitor this.  That's how important it is.  The people of Connecticut have made it law.
This committee needs to be at least 50 % RNs working at the bedside, so that the people at the bedside, the ones who know safe and unsafe, have a voice. 
This year, we have introduced a bill that would make reporting by these committees an automatic occurrence.  On a regular basis the hospitals would need to post on a public website, what the ratio of staff to patients has been.  This is information that is readily available and in the public interest.  The bill in in the hearing stages an has already been watered down.  As it now stands the hospital would have to report these ratios to the state but not place on a public website.  Several of our nurses have indicated a desire to testify when needed on this issue and/or to serve on this hospital staffing committee.
It is our responsibility a health care professionals to be aware of initiatives like this that effect our patients, and to be active when able.  It's why we entered the field, to advocate for our patients, and we do that at the bedside and at the statehouse.

Raised Bill No. 968

Safe staffing website