FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As nurses continue to leave the profession due to unsafe staffing, legislature must pass the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act
“Hospital executives understaff nurses, push corporate healthcare practices and mergers, and take multi-million-dollar salaries while care at the bedside is in crisis. It is past time for Minnesota Legislators to hold hospital executives accountable to patients, not profits,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, MNA President. “From our historic contract fight last year to the legislature this year, Minnesota nurses are determined to win the safe staffing levels needed to protect patient care and keep nurses at the bedside.”
Motivated by a misguided focus on the bottom line and excess revenues, hospital executives have pushed corporate policies and crisis standards of care for years, setting the stage for the current crisis of care and retention at the bedside. By intentionally short staffing units, closing units and facilities that aren’t “profitable” enough, and failing to adequately prepare for infectious diseases, hospital executives have failed to put patients before profits and have created unsafe and unsustainable conditions in our hospitals which are pushing nurses out of the profession.
“We’re the most trusted profession in America because we do everything in our power to take care of our patients, whether it’s at the bedside or on the streets to fight back against corporate greed,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, referencing the December 2022 Gallup polling that found nurses hold the highest professional ranking among Americans for ethics and honesty, a recognition they’ve claimed for the past 21 years. “On our national day of action, NNU members will stand up for staffing models that adequately protect patients, nurses, and our communities against public health crises.”
Nurses nationwide are raising their voices today to demand action on the crisis of understaffing by hospital executives. In Minnesota, nurses are calling on Minnesota Legislators to take urgent action on the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, a bill that would have direct care workers and hospital management work together to set safe staffing levels on a local, hospital-by-hospital, unit-by-unit level. The bill, passed by the Minnesota House last session, will be reintroduced in the coming weeks.
Studies frequently show that when patients have more dedicated nursing staff, outcomes improve, including reduced mortality, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use, infections, pneumonia, and other complications. Last year, a Minnesota Department of Health report documented worsening patient impacts in Minnesota hospitals as the crisis of short staffing and retention continues unabated and unresolved by hospital executives.
There is no shortage of nurses in Minnesota, with a record-high 120,000 currently registered here, and more students attending and graduating from nursing school throughout the pandemic. Instead, nurses are being pushed out of the profession in a crisis of retention created by hospital executives who have forced unsafe and unsustainable conditions on workers and patients at the bedside. A recent national study found that over 60 percent of nurses are considering leaving the profession, a 40 percent increase from a year prior in the same survey.
An MNA report released last year found that 63 percent of MNA nurses had either considered leaving their position or knew someone who had within the last year, while those who did leave bedside nursing jobs in the last two years identified short staffing and poor hospital management as the driving factors. These findings are supported by recent independent scholarly research which found no evidence of nurse departures due to the COVID-19 pandemic; instead, they found hospital staffing levels to be the primary predictor of nurse “burnout,” and call for “Policies that prevent chronic hospital nurse understaffing… to stabilize the hospital nurse workforce at levels supporting good care and clinician wellbeing.”