(St. Paul) – September 27, 2023 – Nurses are once again speaking out after the Minnesota Department of Health’s report, released today, details an increasing number of reported adverse health events in Minnesota hospitals. This news comes at a time when at least one major health chain in the metro area is proposing even further reductions to the number of nurses caring for patients.
Nurses continue to sound the alarm that there is a crisis of patient care and retention by hospital executives in Minnesota’s hospitals. While there are more than 130,000 registered nurses in Minnesota – up 8,000 from last year – thousands leave the bedside every year due to unsafe and unsustainable conditions in our hospitals, with unsafe staffing being the number one issue driving nurses away.
Information collected from nurses of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) for more than 25 years on how short staffing negatively impacts patient care and risks patient safety. Many evidence-based studies demonstrate that it is critical to have adequate staffing because it results in better patient outcomes. Studies illustrate that the number of patients a nurse has at one time affects their ability to safely care for patients, reduce infection risks, and ultimately advance their plan of care through to discharge. However, Minnesota nurses keep stating that their hospitals are not staffed at levels to allow them to provide quality care.
To address the chronic issue of short staffing in our hospitals, Minnesota nurses championed the bipartisan Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, a comprehensive approach to nurse staffing and retention that would have established committees of direct care workers and management at Minnesota hospitals to discuss what works best for staffing for their patients on a hospital-by-hospital, unit-by-unit level. Because of the power and influence of corporate healthcare executives over our elected leaders, the bill died at the eleventh hour.
Despite the warnings from nurses for decades, Minnesotans continue to be put at risk by the inaction of the Minnesota legislature in addressing the crisis of retention and care in our hospitals. Nurses are once again calling on the Minnesota legislature and Governor Tim Walz to listen and believe nurses on how to address this crisis once and for all.
“As long as the corporatization of healthcare is allowed to run rampant in Minnesota, we will continue to see an increase in adverse events for Minnesota patients and nurses leaving the bedside in droves,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, President of Minnesota Nurses Association. “It’s time for our elected leaders to act, for the sake of all Minnesotans.”