The following statement is attributable to Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), in response to the outcome of the Massachusetts ballot Initiative on nurse staffing. Voters rejected the measure, with 70 percent voting against and 30 percent voting in favor of it.
“ANA has long been a strong advocate for appropriate nurse staffing in all health caresettings. We know that providing the right nursing resources makes a critical difference for patients and the quality of their care. Many factors affect the number of patients for whom each nurse may safely care for – it’s not just math. The rigid, one size fits all approach proposed by the ballot initiative failed to acknowledge the complexities of staffing and undermined nurses’ professional autonomy and decision-making in determining staffing on their units.
Therefore, we are pleased that the Massachusetts voters soundly rejected Question 1. At the same time, the robust debate spurred by the ballot question helped to educate consumers about the importance of nurse staffing and its impact on quality patient care. We know hospital and nursing leaders across the state are ready to work together to identify a constructive path forward to develop shared solutions and accountability to ensure staffing levels meet the needs of patient populations, and align with nurses’ experience and associated resources. Only when that happens, can victory be declared.