On Feb. 27, 2019, registered nurses in Illinois, with support of National Nurses United, began lobbying lawmakers in support of a mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratio. Currently, California is the only state with mandatory nurse staffing ratios established for acute care, acute psychiatric and specialty hospitals. The Illinois proposal would mimic California’s design but also mandate minimum staffing standards in long term acute-care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Although this is not new news for Illinois nurses and their 15-year fight for better staffing ratios, the union continues to rally for the mandate citing that patient health is compromised because too few nurses must care for too many patients.
“Mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios save lives,” said Talisa Harden, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medicine in a union published news release. “As nurses, we’ve always known it, and now there is a robust body of peer-reviewed literature that proves it. Illinois patients deserve safe and therapeutic care no matter where they are admitted. This bill will make all Illinois patients safer.”