H.R. 4138, The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007 (16 comments ↓ | 3 wiki edits: view article ↓)

  • This item is from the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and is no longer current. Comments, voting, and wiki editing have been disabled, and the cost/savings estimate has been frozen.

H.R. 4138 would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to impose minimum nurse staffing ratios in Medicare participating hospitals.

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November 16, 2007, 5:36am (report abuse)

It is absolutely urgent that Congress pass this bill. Studies have born out that better staffing of nurses leads to better patient outcomes. Nurses everywhere have experienced the horror of not being able to care for their patients in a way that they know is safe and end to these types of situations.


November 16, 2007, 10:36am (report abuse)

As a nursing student and someone who works in a large teaching hospital, I see the unsafe ratios everyday. I see nurses running around in a panic because they have so many patients that are sick they cannot possibly provide the best care to each of them. This is a necessary change.

Inga Dieterich

November 16, 2007, 12:43pm (report abuse)

It is imperative that this bill include Nursing Homes, staffing levels have historically been bad and getting worse. Seems as if the emphasise is always on hospitals only, dont forget the desperate need in Nursing Home Reform.


November 17, 2007, 10:09am (report abuse)

We don't need this bill because patients can just bring their own nurses when they have to come to the hospital.



November 21, 2007, 11:07pm (report abuse)

If nurses or the government don't step in the ratios will be determined by how much money can be made- which means minimum staffing and minimum care.

Gina Breen

November 23, 2007, 10:09pm (report abuse)

I am a registered nurse and have left direct patient care years ago due to the stress that short staffing had on my life as well as the detrimental effects that it can have on patient.

Recently my mother was taken to a well known emergenty in my town. She died there. I was never so shocked to see the state of the er and the lack of staff for the amount of patient that were there. Unfortunatly my mother was never assessed properly from the get go do to the nurses being overwhelmed with patient and trying to decide which patient took precedence. I am not saying my mother time was not here but the manner in which she passed away could have been more controlled and peacful for her. Again I feel this law is a necessary change needed in the health care system for many reasons such and nurse retention and patient outcomes. May be the hospitals could use some of their funds spent on wrongful death suits that may of been avoided if there was adequate staff on more nursing staff. Gina


November 29, 2007, 2:46pm (report abuse)

I too left direct patient care after 20 years. I was burned out. Today I tell anyone I know who is going into, or has a loved one that is going into the hospital,to never be alone. Have someone there and question everything. What medication is that? What is it for? etc. You can never be too careful. It is imperative that hospitals be held accountable for the safety of their patients when it comes to RN staffing. The studies prove it!

Linda Fine

January 31, 2008, 5:46pm (report abuse)

I can't do it...I can't do acute care any more due to the ridiculous nurse:patient ratios that nurses are asked to take on. If I don't feel like I can safely care for my patients, I get overly stressed and am more prone to making mistakes. I decided that it wasn't worth the risk, both to my license and to the lives of those I care for, to keep accepting insane assignments and left acute care for private duty. I am a strong clinician with >25 years' experience. I know there are many others like me. I believe a bill like this could make it possible for us to return to the acute care setting.


March 3, 2008, 9:49am (report abuse)

I have heard many nurses say that they are ready to get out of nursing because of the increased responsibility of taking care of greater number of patients during their shift. I have seen seasoned nurses retire and skilled ones give their notice and move to another facility looking for utopia (safe patient to staff ratio) they go from place to place, state to state, eventually end up disillusioned and starting a new career altogether.


March 13, 2008, 11:46pm (report abuse)

I am a registered nurse of 20 years and have to agree that this bill is vital to improve patient outcomes and hopefully retain nurses. Recently I was a patient at our facility and was frightened (but not surprised) at the number of ways corners were being cut or omitted due to the shortage in staff. The average lay person would not realize there was anything wrong since their basic needs were being met, but policies were not being followed. I know these were not deliberate omissions, rather too much to do and not enough time. When you have all but given up any breaks and staying hours beyond your shift the only other thing left that can be sacrificed is quality patient care. My care was excellent (meeting my basic needs) but corners get cut when you don't have enough staff and this was evident witnessing a multitude of policy infractions some of which could lead to harm for the patient.


March 19, 2008, 12:02pm (report abuse)

I have been a nurse for 36 years, and I have never seen it worse. There is no real nursing shortage, just tons of nurses that "won't take it anymore". I feel this bill is necessary because the hospitals will not impose limits on the number of patients a nurse must care for themselves. My administration accepts every patient that comes to the door, even if there are not enough staff to care for them. Their response is "minimal care is better than no care". They obviously do not understand that harming a patient is what minimal care can lead to, and of course it is not their license on the line. This would force them to follow safer guidelines. I feel more nurses would come back to work if this were the case.

Fire Nursing Administrators instead!

April 1, 2008, 12:16am (report abuse)

There is no nursing shortage! There are over 330,000 licensed inactive nurses with a considerable precentage of them out of the field because of conditions. Hospitals have turned this into a 3-ring circus of customer service games for profits putting patient safety at risk. Patients need to know the truth and see what a nurse has to do and deal with on her shift leaving only minutes a day on patient care! Quit saving dollars by dumping on nurses and killing the patients!

Hospitals need to be controlled!!!!

Open eyes to reality

June 1, 2008, 11:47am (report abuse)

There is a considerable number of nurses who have left the profEssion due to inflexible schedules. A large percentage of the workforce is older and can not meet the demands of 12 hours shifts. So many nurses would come back if scheduling could be more accomadating. Hospital administrators have made patient care about the mighty dollar so now our patient's are suffering and nurses are leaving the profession.

I hate that we have to go to congress to handle our issues but it does seem those of us in the hospitals don't have the tools to make a difference. It is ashame that the goverment has to tell us how to take care of patients safely but if it is necessary then LET"S DO IT.

Samantha Church

June 1, 2008, 8:37pm (report abuse)

As a registered nurse and possible patient, the issue of nursing staffing ratios is very important to me. Currently, most hospitals cannot turn away patients. Theoretically, this should be a beneficial requirement; however, it can be detrimental for nurses and patients depending on staffing ratios. As patient advocates, nurses must demand sufficient staffing to provide safe health care delivery. Moreover, adequate nurse-patient ratios will benefit nurses as well. This bill will help to ensure adequate staffing for nurses while providing increased protection and safety for nurses and patients alike. This important bill needs your support.

Anita, RN

October 30, 2008, 12:56am (report abuse)

The hospital I worked in is now a direct threat to laboring women, given the minimal staffing, and high risk environment. Nurses cannot possibly provide safe patient care in the current environment. I left because I didn't want someone I had the responsibility to care for to suffer serious harm or even death due to inadequate staffing.

Darlene RN

November 9, 2008, 6:43pm (report abuse)

I can't imagine how administrators are going to accept the input of bedside nurses in determing their nursing operating budgets. Even if this legislation passes, I am skeptical as to how it will be implemented.

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