Featured on 40:     Bear Sighting RAW VIDEO     Storm Week     Win a 60" TV!     40 Force: School Drive     Weather Discussion    

Ballot Question Would Set Nursing Levels

ballot nurses

(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–There’s an ongoing debate in Massachusetts whether limits should be placed on the number of patients a nurse can be assigned to at one time.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association has filed a ballot initiative that would require one nurse for every four patients in medical or surgical units, one nurse for up to three patients in emergency departments and one nurse for every two patients in critical care units.

Nurses say the issue  is patient safety,”As nurses, we’re looking at patient care, patient outcomes, and the hospital is looking at the income versus what’s going out, and we all realize that but there’s got to be some way we can manage that together and give good safe patient care,” says Sandra Hottin, a Registered Nurse and member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

But hospitals like Baystate Medical Center  say it’s a bad idea,”It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it impedes the effort to reform the way that health care is delivered in both the Commonwealth and on a national level,” says Steven Bradley, Vice President of Government and Community Relations and Public Affairs at Baystate Health Systems.

Bradley says the nurses are using scare tactics to get the initiative  passed,”Tying to scare the voters into believing that health care in Massachusetts is poor, declining, and dangerous is really very unfortunate,” says Bradley.

But nurses disagree,”I don’t think it’s scare tactics at all, I think it’s a reality,” says Sandra Hottin, RN.

This staffing level issue has been debated before in the Massachusetts Legislature but no law has ever been enacted.

If this goes on the ballot, it would be the first time that Massachusetts voters would actually decide the matter in a referendum vote.



WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • medic3

    Scare tactic? Have you been inside the local ED’s lately? More nurses, less mistakes, more people seen, less wait in the waiting rooms. Win, win, win. Scare tactics….what an idiot!

  • LtLaurie

    Scare tactics really …. really. When’s the last time you were in an ER ? Last April my kid cut her leg open pretty bad and needed stitches . We went to the local ER. We waited 45 min for percocet for my kid (after it was ordered by the doctor) because the nurse was running between at least 4 other cubicles I don’t know what was wrong with these people but one was vomitting a lot by the sounds of it. And then when it came time to sew up my kids leg the nurse was busy with someone else. The doctor dropped something on the floor and I had to open a new package for her because she was wearing sterile gloves. And did you notice the forst thing the admin guys said was it “cost” too much. That’s all they care about not “we the people” so it’s time that “We the people” tell them we come first.

  • veterannurse

    Emergency rooms don’t have enough nurses. Patients are shuffled around the hospital to to satisfy staffing needs because there is no more depth of staff. The house of cards tumbles down when nurses call out sick. Patients in hospitals are far sicker than ever and need the type of care that ratios would afford.
    Administrators always beat the cost drum, but what is the cost of readmission within 30 days? Patients come to hospitals for nursing care, not for administrative care. A few less six or seven figure salaries would be a real cost saver.

  • lpnnursevet15yrs

    Today’s nursing is very different from nursing from even 10-20 years ago. Technology is always changing, hospitals are discharging patients faster than ever before. Not to mention the nationwide shortage of nurses we see today. As a nurse, the daughter of a military veteran, I believe I was treated unfairly in a VA Hospital. What was happening at the time with me, as I was bringi

  • lpnnursevet15yrs

    I hit submit too quickly. I was going into anaphylaxis shock, as I was bringing a military Veteran to the local VA hospital. I brought the person to the department where the patient was to have his tests done. I then proceeded my way to the emergency room, as the rash I broke out in,dpdkd