Written by the Editorial Staff
Political action plans are being developed. There are a number of issues that affect travelers for which individual action and formation of committees would benefit us greatly. Here are several for starters:
- State regulatory boards: information is needed on an ongoing basis about their actions and any impending legislation that will impact our practice. Networking should reach out and stay in contact with board members and key state legislators.
Universal compact licensure: this is an issue that impacts nurse travelers more than any other group of nurses. As such our voice carries as much weight as anyone else's voice and legislators and boards will pay heed. Again, there is networking to be done, not only to legislators and boards, but also to other affected groups. Lists can be made of key players, and sample position letters developed for members to send to those persons.
Mandated safe staffing ratios: we have as much to gain from this as any permanent staff has to gain. And we are in a unique position to apply pressure to states who do not have staffing ratio laws. We can vote with our feet to work only or preferentially only in states with safe healthcare laws. When individual states recognize that in today's era of job mobility, they not only will lose workers to more progressive states, but will also not have a ready pool of travelers ready to bail them out of their self created healthcare crises. Besides just voting with our feet, we must actively let state legislators know the implications of non action on safe staffing.
In these areas and many more, member volunteers are needed. We have not yet entered the political arena and have been stretched thin with the other activities of forming this Association. Anyone can pitch in with an hour here and there when the political structures and committees have formed.
Particularly welcome right now are those who can take a strong leadership role in forming committees, structuring political action and formulating goals, and who can motivate others to volunteer. We thank you sincerely for any help you may be able to offer. The beneficiaries will be yourselves and indeed all travelers and participants and recipients of healthcare.
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- In the January/February 2007 issue of Health Affairs, Dr. David I. Auerbach and colleagues estimated that the U.S. shortage of registered nurses (RNs) will increase to 340,000 by the year 2020. Though this is significantly less than earlier projections for a shortfall of 800,000 RNs which was made back in 2000, the study authors note that the nursing shortage is still expected to increase by three times the current rate over the next 13 years.
As of 6/30/07, 21 states have enacted and implemented the RN and LPN/VN Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) with two additional states - Colorado and Rhode Island - who have passed the legislation but are still pending implementation. That leaves 27 states to go!
Current issues and pending legislation:
Stark Introduces Bill To Limit Mandatory Overtime For Nurses
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill (HR 2122) that would limit mandatory overtime for nurses in cases in which federal, state or local officials declare a state of emergency. The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio). The American Nurses Association, the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations have endorsed the bill. Stark said, "We limit the time that truck drivers and pilots can work to protect public safety," adding, "Safe nursing is in the public interest as well" .
Send a message to your US Representative to ask for SUPPORT of this bill.
Federal Nurse Safe Staffing Act
S. 71 the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2005 and H.R. 1372, the Quality Nursing Care Act of 2005. These bills would require the development of staffing systems with the input of direct care RNs and provide for whistle-blower protection for RNs who speak out about patient care issues. Send a message to your US Representative to ask for SUPPORT of legislation mandating safe nurse/patient staffing ratios.
Send a message to your US Senator. Send a message to your US Representative.