A bill requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to meet target nurse-to-patient ratios has made it out of a Minnesota House of Representatives committee. The Standards of Care Act requires hospitals to meet staffing levels recommended by professional nursing specialty organizations, such as the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
The bill could lead to more job opportunities for nurses, who contend it’s also essential for proper patient care. A statement by the Minnesota Nurses Association said the law is necessary because “Hospitals are simply not delivering on their obligation to provide the staff we need to keep patients on their path to health.”
Additionally, the bill would require hospitals to establish safe-patient-assignment committees, 60% of whose members would have to be nurses who provide direct patient care. They would conduct safety assessments, evaluate staffing standards, develop procedures for making shift-to-shift staffing adjustments and serve as watchdogs when hospitals fail to meet the applicable standards.