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“Understaffing Is Not The Result Of The Nursing Shortage, But The Cause Of It” - National Nurses United-Represented Nurses ‘Urge’ The Federal Government ‘To Address Unsafe’ Hospital Staffing Crisis

Published Sunday, December 12, 2021
by National Nurses United News
“Understaffing Is Not The Result Of The Nursing Shortage, But The Cause Of It” - National Nurses United-Represented Nurses ‘Urge’ The Federal Government ‘To Address Unsafe’ Hospital Staffing Crisis

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - A New report on Registered Nurse (RN) staffing explains decades of bad hospital practices and recommends multiple legislative and regulatory solutions

“Understaffing is not the result of the nursing shortage, but the cause of it,” National Nurses United (NNU) President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, an RN herself, told Congressional leaders.

Triunfo-Cortez and Front Line RNs from across the country explained the understaffing crisis at a Congressional briefing, which accompanied the launch of a new NNU report on the issue.

The RNs described first hand to members of Congress the many ways the hospital industry, in pursuit of profits, has intentionally created the intolerable working conditions under which many Nurses are unwilling to practice and has led to current crisis levels of unsafe staffing.

The briefing was co-hosted by U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, the sponsor of H.R. 3165 - the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act.

“Right now, there are no Federal mandates regulating the number of patients that a Registered Nurse can care for at one time in U.S. hospitals.  This is dangerous - for Nurses, for patients, for all Americans.  This is why I introduced the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act (H.R. 3165), to require hospitals to develop annual Safe Staffing Plans with the input of Direct Care Nurses,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said.

“Even before the (Coronavirus) Pandemic, Registered Nurses have consistently been required to care for more patients than is safe.  Nurses have been pleading with hospitals to give them the staff that they need.  Yet, hospitals say they cannot find enough Nurses and cannot afford to pay permanent Nurses more in wages.  This comprehensive report shows that is incorrect.  There is no shortage of Registered Nurses.  There IS a shortage of good, permanent nursing jobs where Registered Nurses are fully valued for their work.  We celebrate Nurses.  We call them heroes.  If we truly value their work and their sacrifices, we must give them the support that they are asking for,” the Congresswoman said.

During the hearing, Nurses from across the country - from California to Washington, D.C., and Michigan to Florida, shared their stories. (You Can View The Nurses’ Testimony Here).

This manufactured staffing crisis is detailed in NNU’s new report: Protecting Our Front Line: Ending the Shortage of Good Nursing Jobs and the Industry-Created Short Staffing Crisis.

The report explains the methods the hospital industry has used for decades before the pandemic drove Nurses away from the bedside: Adopting policies of not supplying enough RN staff to safely care for patients; Cutting corners at work that endanger Nurses’ health and safety, including hospitals’ refusal to provide necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to RNs during the pandemic until they were forced to do so; Disrespecting Nurse judgment and autonomy by fragmenting, deskilling, and replacing aspects of their profession; and Resisting hiring RNs from Associate Degree Programs - an elitist practice that exacerbates the staffing crisis and undermines the Nursing Workforce’s racial and ethnic diversity.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story And To Read The NNU Report, Go To: www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/nurses-urge-federal-government-to-address-unsafe-hospital-staffing-crisis

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