Press release: Mayor Walsh joins Senators Warren & Markey, Congressional delegation in supporting nurses and safe patient limits
BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has added his support to the list of elected officials endorsing Yes on Question 1, An act relative to patient safety and hospital transparency (the Patient Safety Act). Over 150 organizations have also endorsed Yes on Question 1, including nursing organizations representing over 1 million members at the bedside.
“When I was a kid battling cancer, it was the nurses who stood beside me every day, fighting with me for my life,” said Mayor Walsh. “They are on the front lines protecting us when we are at our most vulnerable and they are supporting our families during the most difficult of times. Voting yes on Question 1 will allow nurses to better provide the invaluable care they are trained to give and ensure that both nurses and patients are protected in safe work environments. That is why I’m proud to stand with the nurses and vote yes on Question 1.”
“Mayor Walsh has been a steadfast supporter of nurses, but moreover, he has been a champion for working families, leading the way towards greater opportunity for all. That is why his support is so important, because he recognizes that this is an issue of safety and equity,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “Right now, there are no limits to the number of patients that a nurse can be assigned at one time, except for the ICU. This ballot question will establish a standard of care that doesn’t exist. Hospital executives make choices about what to do with their vast resources. To hospital executives, these are corporations where money comes first. But to nurses, these are care facilities where patients – you and your loved ones – come first.”
In September, Judith Shindul-Rothschild, PhD, RN, a nursing economist at Boston College and a leading researcher on RN staffing and patient care quality, released a cost estimate report showing a total implementation cost to Massachusetts acute care hospitals to be under $47 million. Shindul-Rothschild explained: “The majority of Massachusetts hospitals could easily meet the requirements of the law simply by shifting approximately 3 percent of the proportion of their budget currently allocated to non-direct care managers and hospital administrators, to RNs and hospital unit staff who provide direct patient care as was done in California hospitals after the enactment of their law.”
For nearly two decades, Registered Nurses in Massachusetts hospitals have been reporting they regularly must care for too many patients at once. Research studies from more than 70 peer-reviewed journals (https://bit.ly/TheScientificResearch) have repeatedly proven that when a nurse’s patient assignment is too large, patients’ health, safety, and outcomes suffer. Even with such facts, data, and firsthand stories in place, hospital executives have refused to make the necessary improvements to nurses’ patient assignments. In response, nurses have opted to take the issue directly to Massachusetts voters in the form of Question 1, which will set a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time.