Some California Hospitals Seek Additional Nurses To Help Comply With Staffing Law
California hospitals are "scrambling" to comply with a new nurse-staffing regulation requiring that one nurse care for no more than five patients throughout the day, and some hospital officials say most facilities are unable to meet the standard, the AP/Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports (Jablon, AP/Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/27).
The state nurse-staffing ratio rule took effect on March 14 after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Judy Holzer Hersher signed a March 4 decision to bar a delay sought by the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)(California Healthline, 3/15).
In an attempt to meet the current regulation, some hospitals have hired nurses from registry services and asked staff nurses to take on overtime hours, the AP/Press Democrat reports.
Jim Lott of the Hospital Council of Southern California -- which represents about 190 public, private and not-for-profit hospitals -- said, "Eighty-five percent of the hospitals are out of compliance at any given time with the old ratios. The new ratios only make them more out of compliance."
California Nurses Association President Deborah Burger said, "We're not going to ding a hospital because a nurse answers a phone or goes to the bathroom. And the hospitals know that" (AP/Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/27).