The Colorado Senate Health committee heard opinions and discussion on this bill on 2/1. The bill is found here in entirety if you click on Senate Bills.
I'm feelin funny here.
I went to Nurse Practice Council last month, and my hospital is working on its Magnet stuff. Our CNO brought the bill up at the meeting and said that she intended to testify in opposition to the bill, but she wanted to hear what MyHospital NPC had to say on it. Was she speaking for us? She wanted to know.
So I stuck my hand up.
(Me and that sticking my hand up thing.)
I wanted to know why she thought it was a bad bill. Her rationale was brief because we were short on time, unfortunately. Her main point was that staffing metrics is not the best measure of good patient care, and that to mandate that we hire someone to do staffing ratio reporting was not in nursing's best interest. Any patient that wants to know staffing ratio can call and she is happy to tell them, she says.
I listen. Unfortunately, I had not read the bill before this discussion, knew nothing about it. So when asked if I'm on board with MyHospital Nurse Practice, I kinda had to sit back and ....say I didn't know. I hadn't read the bill. I had questions. How did it work in California, and according to whom? Is the bill truly a slippery slope to mandating staff ratios, which I do think is a bad idea for some governmental body to be deciding how many patients a nurse can take. What does the government know about health care? About my patient? No, that's a bad idea. But do we throw out a good bill because there might be another proposed bill to follow? That doesn't make sense either.
Colorado Nurses Assn supports the bill. I'm a member of CNA/ANA, too.
I don't like kneejerk reactions to something important. I don't make quick decisions when it counts. I wished I'd had more time to sit and stew on this before being asked if I was on board.
The good news is that there's a staff RN from my NPC who's gone to the senate meetings, and he's telling us what's up. No votes were taken on it yet. I think the testimonials went so long they decided to re-address another day. Most of the testimonials are coming from administrators of CO hospitals. As these are people who will have to cut the checks for the fines, I'm not sure that they should be the only people to stand up and have something to say. By all means, participate in the discussion. I'm not a fan of fining hospitals either, as that helps neither the patient nor the nurse.
There are some really good ideas in that bill. Ideas that can help patients. Ideas that can help nurses. Important implications for models of care.
I've heard, through my CNO, that "it didn't work in California when they tried it...they're not happier there." Okay. Except. I had a breakfast long island iced tea on Sunday with L. And I know L. I worked nights with L for a year, and I trust her and her thoughts on things. L was, incidentally, an administrator at a California hospital before she chucked that and came back to bedside nursing here in Colorado. I trust her. And the story she told me about how that staffing ratio reporting thing worked in California was different. Yup, hospitals got fined, but the nurses were happier with the care they were able to provide.
So I don't know.
Part of me really kinda wishes I worked some days and could go sit in on these meetings; I'm sure they're open to the public. I guess I'm not just "public" either...I'm an RN, BSN, member of CNA/ANA as well as my hospital's NPC ...but I think my primary distinction is that I'm simply Not A Schmuck and I know a thing or two about what I want and need to take care of my patients.
You know, I read Suzanne Gordon. I think every nurse ought to.
I'm thinkin this is where the rubber meets the road.
I wish my way here were clearer, though. If it's a good bill, heck yeah, I'll go write my letters to congress (and have written, incidentally, within the last three months). But good/bad isn't so straightforward here. I'll go stand up for the right thing. I'd even go stand up regardless of whether or not my CNO shares my opinion. She's a smart woman. I respect her. I respect that she'll go stand up because she thinks this is a bad bill.
I haven't decided if this is the right thing or not.