Advocating for Safe Staffing
Safe staffing is one of ANA’s core federal policy priorities. We work closely with our constituent and state nurses associations to monitor and advocate for state-level policies, which generally follow three approaches:
- Staffing committees. Nurse-led groups that create unit-level staffing plans based on a patient population’s acuity and needs, matched with staff’s skills and experience.
- Mandated nurse to patient ratios or standards, in legislation or regulation.
- Mandated disclosure of staffing levels, to the public and/or regulatory bodies.
ANA supports a legislative model incorporating nurse-driven staffing committees because this approach encourages flexible staffing levels. At least 55 % of staffing committee members should be direct care nurses.
As of March 2022, 16 states currently address nurse staffing in hospitals through either laws or regulations:
- Hospital-based: Eight states with committees comprised of at least 50% direct care nurses: CT, IL, NV, NY, OH, OR, TX, WA. One state where a Chief Nursing Officer develops a core staffing plan: MN.
- Nurse to patient ratios/standards. Two states: CA, MA
- Disclosure and/or reporting requirements. Five states: IL, NJ, NY, RI, VT
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