Michigan nurses advocating for Safe Patient Care Act

Some state lawmakers are supporting nurses' pleas for better working conditions.
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 5:49 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) – Some state lawmakers are supporting nurses’ pleas for better working conditions.

The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) was at the capitol on Thursday, Nov. 9, advocating for the Safe Patient Care Act.

The MNA said there is no law that limits the number of patients a registered nurse can be assigned to take care of, resulting in alarming and unsafe standards.

The union said in a poll that 42 percent of licensed nurses in Michigan said they know of a patient who has died due to unsafe staffing levels, which is nearly double the number from 2016.

The Safe Patient Care Act aims to address understaffing and focus on three key areas.

“It’s all about safe patient-to-nurse ratios, maintaining the safety of the patient and the RN. The second component is the reduction in mandated overtime, and the third is all about transparency to the community so they can be aware of what the ratios are and wait times are,” said Carolyn Clemons, a registered nurse at Ascension Genesys in Grand Blanc.

Under the proposal, nurses would only have up to four patients, which they said means each patient could be seen for 15 minutes an hour, which is triple the amount of time that some patients are receiving now.

“Well, you talk about the ratio nowadays, because of the shortage, sometimes the nurses have eight to nine patients. That will delete that time to anywhere from five to 10 minutes a patient,” Young said.

Thursday’s hearing was with the Michigan House Health Policy Committee.

The Safe Patient Care Act still needs to be approved by the Michigan House and Senate before it heads to the governor’s desk.

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