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Hundreds of Nurses Urge the US Congress to Address the Nurse Staffing Crisis and Longstanding Work Environment Issues

Shannon McClendon,

SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, nearly 400 members of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the premiere organization representing the nation’s more than 4 million registered nurses, trekked to the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to address the national nurse staffing crisis. Insufficient nurse staffing jeopardizes patient safety and negatively impacts nurses across the country.

“Every nurse should advocate for the staffing solutions that they know will work best in their practice setting, including minimum nurse-to-patient ratios,” said ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “More importantly, when any staffing approach, legislation or regulation is being considered, nurses must be the primary decision makers to ensure that the approach is enforceable, specific to the care setting and unit, accounts for patients who require critical care, and balances the workload of nurses.”

The work environment of nurses is a primary driver of the nurse staffing crisis. Longstanding workforce issues such as burnout, workplace violence, mandatory overtime and barriers to full practice authority have all further compounded the nurse staffing crisis. ANA calls on Congress to improve nurse staffing and the work environment for nurses through the following:

  • Enact legislation to prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses.
  • Require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) to issue a national health care workplace violence standard.
  • Implement nurse staffing standards to ensure nurses have the time and the resources that they need to deliver quality care and positive outcomes.

ANA is actively engaging Congressional leaders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other key stakeholders to refine approaches to implementing staffing standards. This work includes ensuring that any staffing legislation provides opportunities to pilot innovative nursing models led and approved by direct-care nurses that reflect the needs of nurses and their patients.

“While ANA supports nurse-to-patient ratios, we know that ratios alone will not improve safe staffing for nurses,” said ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Ultimately, the nurse staffing crisis requires a national dialogue and ongoing collaboration between nurses, Congressional leaders and other key stakeholders to support our nursing workforce, our patients, and our nation’s health and well-being.”


 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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