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Federal Safe Staffing bill introduced in U.S. Senate

Publish Date: 6/9/2014

 The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2014 (S. 2353) was introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 15, 2014 and was referred to the Committee on Finance. The bill requires unit-by-unit staffing plans and public reporting of the plans, but does not impose nurse-patient ratios. This legislation is the companion to the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013 (H.R. 1821). Both the House and Senate bills were crafted with input from the ANA.

Not only does S. 2353 require hospitals to establish committees that develop unit-by-unit, shift-by-shift staffing plans, those committees must consist of at least 55% direct care nurses. The staffing plans are to be based on factors such as number of patients in the unit, patient conditions, experience and skill level of registered nurses, support staff availability, and technological resources. By allowing each hospital committee to create their own staffing plan, the bill avoids the one-size-fits-all approach.

The ANA and AORN support S.2353. The bill is in line with the AORN Position Statement on Perioperative Safe Staffing and On-Call Practices as it focuses on ensuring there is appropriate nurse staffing for quality patient outcomes based on each unit’s unique needs. The Position Statement asserts, “Patient safety is the primary focus of perioperative nurses and other health care providers. One of the most important responsibilities of the perioperative RN administrator is to develop an effective staffing plan that is relevant to the individual practice setting and meets the safety needs of both patients and health care workers.”

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