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Nurse-To-Patient Mandate Reintroduced In Congress

Nurses and doctors at work in a hospital's intensive care unit.
Christopher Maue
Nurses and doctors at work in a hospital's intensive care unit.

Nurse-To-Patient Mandate Reintroduced In Congress
A measure that would mandate minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospital units has been reintroduced in Congress.

Nurses like it, but hospitals don't.

Nonetheless, a measure that would mandate minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospital units has been reintroduced in Congress.

It's based on California's landmark nurse staffing law that took effect in 2004. Studies show it’s associated with better patient outcomes and lower nurse burnout.

Bonnie Castillo with the California Nurses Association says the regulation has also prompted nurses to return to hospital work.

“In fact, many nurses came from other states to work in California, because they know they’re able to provide the highest level of care and that their patients have a greater chance of recovery,” she said.

But Congress has been reluctant to approve such a law — it's been introduced three times without success.

California is the only state in the country that requires hospitals to maintain minimum nurse staffing ratios in all hospitals units. Massachusetts mandates strict nurse-to-patient ratios only in intensive care units.

What questions do you have about the Statewide General Election coming up on Nov. 8? Submit your questions here, and we'll try to answer them in our reporting.