SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEEK) — Registered nurses are lobbying Illinois lawmakers to mandate minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for every hospital unit at all times.
Currently, there are no federal mandates regulating the number of patients that can be assigned to a single nurse in a hospital. The National Nurses United union in Illinois is pushing to model Illinois law after a similar California mandate, which requires a minimum ratio of one nurse for every five patients, or one nurse for every two patients in an intensive care unit.
“Mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios save lives,” said Talisa Harden, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medical Center in a press release. “As nurses, we’ve always known it, and now there is a robust body of peer-reviewed literature that proves it. Illinois patients deserve safe and therapeutic care no matter where they are admitted. This bill will make all Illinois patients safer.”
“Nurses who have too many patients are vulnerable to higher rates of on-the-job injuries and are more prone to make errors,” said Theresa Ivery, a registered nurse at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago. “Our bill will make our hospitals safer for both patients and nurses.”
State Rep. Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) is sponsoring House Bill 3585, and Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) is sponsoring Senate Bill 650, the equivalent bill.