Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Home E-Weekly December 15, 2015

N.J. Lawmakers Propose Minimum Nurse Staffing Levels

Published: December 14, 2015

A bill is working its way through the New Jersey legislature that would require the state's hospitals and surgery centers to maintain minimum nurse staffing levels in order to improve patient safety and workplace prevent burnout that leaves facilities understaffed. Opponents of the controversial bill say staffing levels should be up to the judgment of individual facilities.

The bill, which was voted through a committee last week and awaits consideration by the full assembly, would require 1 registered professional nurse for every 6 patients on a medical/surgical unit for the first year after the regulations are adopted, and 1 RN for every 5 patients in subsequent years. It would also require 1 RN for every patient under anesthesia in an operating room, and 1 RN for every 2 post-anesthesia patients in a recovery room or post-anesthesia care unit.

New Jersey would join California in mandating nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.

JNESO, a labor union representing professional healthcare workers in New Jersey, says the vote was a step toward victory for patient safety and quality health care.

The New Jersey Hospital Association opposes the bill. "We believe these types of patient care decisions should be left to nurses and other trained healthcare professionals who provide patient services daily in the caregiving environment, rather than proscribed by lawmakers," says spokeswoman Kerry McKean Kelly.

Officials at the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Daniel Cook

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Staffing: Should You Furlough or Layoff Staff?

There are several factors to consider when faced with the difficult decision.

Staffing: Don't Let Delays Destroy Satisfaction Scores

Keep patients and their loved ones in the loop every step of the way.