Nurses group supports limiting number of patients per nurse

Attorney General must certify the proposal before it can end up on the 2018 ballot

BOSTON (WWLP) – Registered nurses say they’re being forced to care for too many patients at once, so they can’t give each patient the attention they need.

Massachusetts nurses are calling on the state to set patient assignment limits for hospitals. They’re making a push to put safe staffing requirements in the hands of voters as a ballot question in 2018.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association supports a ballot initiative to require hospitals to adhere to patient assignment limits for hospital units, including operating rooms, emergency departments and maternity wards.

22News spoke with Katie Murphy, who’s been a nurse for about 40 years. She said this proposal would allow nurses to give patients their full attention.

“It is the nurse at the bedside who is best able to determine whether he or she is able to take care of another patient,” Murphy explained, “rather than somebody who’s in an office, somebody who’s not even on campus.”

But some hospitals oppose the move, which they say could take decision making away from nurse leaders.

The State Attorney General must certify the proposal before it can end up on the 2018 ballot.