Safe Staffing legislation, HB 1880, was introduced on September 28, 2011. PSNA has been working diligently and strategically to pass this bill on behalf of all registered nurses. The most contentious barrier to passage of this bill has been our negotiations with the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). This past year, we have held countless meetings and fought hard for the provisions in the bill that will promote the voice of the staff nurse in the development of a staffing plan for individual hospital units. Throughout these negotiations, we have heard from some hospital representatives that staff nurses do not have the capacity or the authority to develop their own staffing plans.
After several rounds of good faith negotiations, it has come down to this final conflict. PSNA has been advocating for language whereby staff nurses, who will make up the staffing committee, “develop the nurse staffing plan” for their hospital unit. However, HAP has not agreed to staff nurses “developing” their staffing plans. Rather, they have offered “shall advise” language that would result in the staffing committee being an advisory group to the hospital’s administration. If this bill were to pass with the words “shall advise” used in it, this would silence the staff nurse’s voice on one of the key decisions made within health care organizations.
PSNA does not believe that silencing the voice of staff nurses is the goal of many hospital CEOs across the Commonwealth. This is where we need you. Please take a moment from your busy day and write to Carolyn Scanlan, the CEO of HAP, asking Ms. Scanlan to challenge her Legislative Affairs staff to remove the “shall advise” language from HB 1880. In addition, we need you to contact the CEO of your local hospital and ask them to support staff nurses “developing” staffing plans for their hospital units.
PSNA does believe that the final decision on the language of “develop” or “shall adivse” will rest with your State Representative. We will continue to provide them with the most up to date and accurate information possible and a personal note from their nurse constituents will further this conversation. Please contact your State Representative and ask them to support PSNA and Representative Adolph’s version of HB 1880 and to oppose HAP’s amendment to include the phrase “shall advise.”
This bill is important to nurses and the patients in the communities we serve. Staff nurses have a direct relationship to our patient and patient outcomes in the hospital setting. Therefore, we must be essential members in developing staffing plans for our individual hospital units. Unfortunately, for some in Harrisburg, this is not about the patients – it is about gamesmanship. We need you to join with us to negate this strategic positioning by the Hospital Association and let your voice be heard. Patients and nurses alike should be appalled that this issue of patient safety has been reduced to gamesmanship rather than assuring the citizens of the Commonwealth that staff nurses have the requisite education and competencies to develop staffing plans that will keep patients and their safety our first priority.