March 27, 2018

Nurses March on DC for Safe Staffing

For the third straight year, nurses are planning to meet on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Nurses Take DC event will be held April 26 and hopes to again raise public awareness regarding safe nurse-patient ratios, meeting with legislators to discuss nurse staffing and to support pending legislation.The event has been the culmination and labor of love from members who met through the popular Facebook group, Show Me Your Stethoscope. Founded by Janie Harvey Garner in response to the "doctor stethoscope" comment on ABC's "The View," the group has grown to more than 650,000 members and continues to be the growing grass roots movement for a nation of nurses.

"Nurses are the largest workforce in healthcare and yet have the smallest influence on healthcare policy," says Garner. "Raising public awareness of the dangerous staffing levels can only help us. The public must join us in this fight because nurses are threatened and fired for advocacy. The most trusted profession on the planet is punished for advocating for the patients under our care. Also, our nursing programs failed to teach us how to advocate for ourselves."

The evidence is clear that when nurses are overworked or overburdened with too many patients, the patients suffer and burnout among staff ensues.

"Arguably the biggest problem in achieving 'enough nurses' is not that we lack evidence of the difference they make or that we have insufficient information to determine the numbers needed, or the conditions associated with attracting and retaining nurses," Author Jane Ball remarked. "And it's not that we have failed to share the evidence. "It's a systemwide failure to fully comprehend the unique value of the skilled care provided by RNs. If the contribution of RNs is not valued, the RN workforce is not planned with diligence, nursing shortages arise, and staffing levels are lower than they need to be to provide care safely and effectively."

If Federal safe staffing mandates are enacted what effect will it have on hospitals that are already taking every common approach to attracting and retaining nurses, but are still struggling? Will non-compliant hospitals face fines, law suits, and reduced reimbursements; none of which help the situation?Now Is the time for hospitals in shortage areas to look into non-traditional approaches to attract and retain nurses.

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