Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Ohio nurses want law limiting nurse-patient ratios

Nurses argue patients are at risk due to overworked caregivers

Arguing that hospitals put patient care at risk by overworking essential front-line caregivers, nurses across Ohio are pushing lawmakers to limit the number of patients for whom they are responsible.

“I’ve had as many as nine patients in my care. I have left in tears because I don’t feel I can give the best possible care for my patients,” said Stephanie Still, who has worked 10 years in nursing in Akron and currently is at Affinity Medical Center in Massillon.

“We definitely need this bill and this law to hold hospitals accountable.”

Nurses came to the Statehouse on Tuesday to advocate for Senate Bill 55, sponsored by Sen. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, which would create new nurse-to-patient ratios and protect nurses who refuse to comply with violations of the law.

Michelle Mahon, who has worked as a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic and is now with National Nurses United, said the bill is similar to a law passed in California in 2004.

Mahon said arguments were made that it would cause hospitals to close, would cost too much and could not be done because of a nursing shortage.

“No hospitals went bankrupt. More nurses came to the profession,” Mahon said. “And nurses now are satisfied with the care they are able to provide.”

Patient outcomes also improved in California, Mahon said. “This measure is desperately needed in our hospitals ...; so we can protect our patients against a hospital industry that frequently places profits over patient care.”

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