HARRISBURG – March 20, 2019 – Senator Maria Collett RN (D-Montgomery/Bucks) and Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) held a press conference today to introduce their legislation to set safe nurse-to-patient limits in Pennsylvania hospitals. SB 450 and HB 867 ensure effective protection of patients in acute care settings by establishing limits to the number of patients for which direct care registered nurses are responsible depending on the type of environment in which they are practicing. For instance, the bills will limit one nurse to four patients in a pre-surgery unit and one nurse to one patient while in the operating room.
Flanked by nurses from across the Commonwealth and the bills’ co-sponsors, Senator Collett and Representative DiGirolamo stressed the urgency and necessity of this legislation to our nurses and more importantly their patients. This bipartisan effort is a testament to the fact that there is nothing political about wanting safe working conditions for nurses and the best possible outcomes for patients.
According to Maureen May RN, the president of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP): “The number one issue facing nurses across the country, not just in Pennsylvania, is staffing.”
“We know that when staffing levels are low, nursing care suffers. And when nursing care suffers, patients are at risk,” explained Senator Collett, a registered nurse who worked in a hospital trauma unit and in long-term care. “I urge my fellow legislators to support quality patient care, to support our caregivers, and to support safe patient limits.”
Representative DiGirolamo, whose daughter Mary is a nurse, said: “I hear the challenges [my daughter] deals with every day.” He added: “This bill is absolutely the right thing to do… It’s time to get it passed.”