The Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act is a bill chief authored by Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) and Representative Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth) to address the hospital short-staffing and retention crisis. The conditions that hospital CEOs have created are driving nurses away from the profession and hurting patient care. The Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act puts patients and workers before profits to fix the under-staffing and retention crisis while improving the quality-of-care patients receive at Minnesota hospitals.
If the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act is passed into law, nurses will stay on and return to the job, and patient care will improve. There is no shortage of Minnesota nurses who want to provide safe, high-quality care to their patients; there is a shortage of nurses willing and able to work under these conditions. Hospital CEOs making millions in compensation and benefits can afford to make changes to protect workers and put patients before profits.
About the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act
Chief Authors: Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) and Representative Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth)
The bill includes the following provisions:
- Establish Nurse Staffing Committees at Minnesota Hospitals – The bill would require all hospitals in the state of Minnesota to create a staffing committee of nurses, staff, and management. This committee will put together a core staffing plan for each unit of the facility every year and will meet quarterly to determine if the staffing plan is still adequate to meet the needs of patients. Each staffing committee will be composed of at least 50 percent direct care staff, including at least 35 percent registered nurses.
- Set Limits on the Number of Patients Per Nurse – While providing flexibility across hospitals and units, under the bill each staffing committee plan must set a maximum limit on the number of patients that any one nurse should safely care for. Each staffing plan will also establish criteria for when a lower patient assignment would be appropriate.
- Recruit and Train Nursing Students – While Minnesota continues to train more than enough nursing students to meet the state’s need, this bill would dedicate new resources to ensure we continue to attract and train a skilled and diverse workforce of Registered Nurses in Minnesota. This includes broadening an existing student loan forgiveness program for new nursing instructors and allocating $5 million to launch a new student loan forgiveness program for nurses working at the bedside in Minnesota hospitals.
- Retain and Sustain Minnesota Nurses – The solution to the hospital retention crisis requires holding hospital CEOs accountable to safe staffing levels, but additional measures can help to support nurses working at the bedside. The bill also provides an annual appropriation of $50,000 for the Minnesota Department of Health to develop and implement violence prevention strategies for nurses and patients in Minnesota hospitals.
- Support Mental Health for Healthcare Workers – One significant effort funded by this bill would provide yearly $1 million for grants mental health programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals. The grants would be made available by the Minnesota Department of Health to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities and organizations to fund new or existing efforts to make mental health services available to healthcare workers, especially those with barriers to accessing care.
- Review and Release Hospital Safety Data – The bill includes several provisions to make the decisions of hospital executives more transparent to the public, to hold CEOs accountable when data shows that there are safety or other staffing problems which need to be addressed. The bill would require the hospital staffing committees to review all Concern for Safe Staffing forms filed by nurses and patients to consider changes based on the data. The bill would also establish an annual report from the Minnesota Department of Health on Nursing Data. This new effort would conduct studies on the state of nursing in Minnesota, including trends in retention and why nurses are leaving direct care positions at hospitals.