California Nurses Association Begins Campaign To Monitor Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
The California Nurses Association on Tuesday announced a campaign to identify hospitals that fail to comply with the new state nurse-to-patient ratio rules that took effect on Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports. CNA representatives said that the union will recruit nurses "in every hospital unit in California" to monitor whether the hospitals are complying with the rules, the Bee reports (Evans, Sacramento Bee, 1/7). Under the rules, nurses will not have to care for more than eight patients at a time. The rules also call for one nurse per five patients in medical-surgical units by 2005, as well as one nurse per four patients in specialty care and telemetry units and one nurse per three patients in step-down units by 2008. In addition, the regulations state that licensed vocational nurses can comprise no more than 50% of the licensed nurses assigned to patient care and that only registered nurses can care for critical trauma patients. The rules also require at least one registered nurse to serve as a triage nurse in emergency departments (California Healthline, 1/5). According to Duane Dauner, president and CEO of the California Healthcare Association, only the Department of Health Services can enforce the new regulations, although anyone could "monitor and observe" hospital staffing ratios, the Bee reports. Jill Furillo, director of government relations for CNA, said that the campaign will be concentrated on hospitals that have not been "receptive to the new rules" (Sacramento Bee, 1/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.