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American Nurses Association Underscores Urgency for Safe Staffing Solutions, Including Minimum Nurse-to-Patient Ratios

Keziah Proctor,

SILVER SPRING, MD  – Today, the American Nurses Association (ANA) underscores the urgency for Congressional leaders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other key stakeholders to advance efforts in the implementation of safe staffing standards, including minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.

The nurse staffing crisis continues to demand a national dialogue with nurse-led approaches to help ease longstanding work environment challenges that nurses are facing across numerous specialties and health care settings. ANA supports enforceable minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that reflect key factors such as patient acuity, intensity of the unit practice setting, and nurses’ competency among other variables.

“ANA’s goal is to empower nurses and position them for success. Embracing setting specific ratios for nurses should be viewed as only one piece of a much larger solution. We’re still working to address other longstanding workforce challenges that have dramatically worsened the nurses staffing crisis such as burnout, workplace violence, mandatory overtime and barriers to full practice authority, said ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

“Studies have shown unsafe staffing negatively affects patient care outcomes and the well-being of nurses. According to the American Nurses Foundation’s national workplace survey of nurses, 31% of nurses are required on a weekly basis to work beyond their scheduled shift to provide adequate care to patients. And the National Council of State Boards of Nursing says a quarter to half of nurses reported feeling emotionally drained (50.8%), used up (56.4%), fatigued (49.7%), burned out (45.1%), or at the end of the rope (29.4%) “a few times a week” or “every day.”

“We urge health care leaders and policymakers at all levels to effect the necessary change, but we must not underestimate the power of nurse advocacy. Direct care nurses have special relationships with their patients imparting unique insights on patient care and the dynamics of the practice setting. That is knowledge that can’t be matched. Nurses are the most trusted professionals in the U.S., especially among health care consumers, so we should both trust and empower them to be the decision makers on how to improve their work environment and deliver the best patient care,” said ANA Enterprise CEO, Loressa Cole, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

ANA’s call for staffing solutions that include ratios was voted on and approved at its 2022 Membership Assembly, the official voting and governing body of the association, which led to nearly 400 members of ANA convening on the U.S. Capitol to petition Congress to address the national nurse staffing crisis last month. ANA is not only advocating, but seeking solutions, launching the Nurse Staffing Think Tank in 2022 in partnership with other leading organizations which produced a series of actionable strategies that health care organizations could implement within 12 – 18 months. In May 2023, the Nurse Staffing Task Force identified another 65 proposed long term recommendations designed to spur innovation, policy and regulatory action, encourage new care models, and effectively support direct care nurses and nurse leaders.

ANA continues to advocate on behalf of nurses, remain a collaborative partner, and to call on Congress to enact meaningful legislation and policies that improve nurse staffing and their work environments. ANA provides nurses at all levels key resources to help inform advocacy as well as approaches to address the nurse staffing crisis.


About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit

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