Proposed bill would limit the number of patients a nurse can take

Lawmakers take up nursing ratio bill
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:12 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - For the first time, a bill was proposed that would limit the number of patients a nurse can take on based on their area of work.

For more than 40 years, Diane Hunter worked as a nurse.

“I feel really, really concerned about the young men and women new to nursing going into nursing,” Hunter said.

In 2020, Hunter felt that her hands were tied and stepped away from the corners of St. Francis hospital.

“Nurses aren’t going to work when you know that you’re going to be the only nurse for 12 patients,” Hunter said. “The highest I’ve heard is one nurse to 15 patients and people aren’t going to do it.”

Hunter expressed that as much as nurses want to help as much as possible there was not enough staffing.

Members of the Public Health Committee said they hear those cries from nurses across the state.

CT Senator Saud Anwar said,we want to make sure that the nurses of Connecticut are safe.”

However, Hunter said she worried that hospitals would fail to enforce the ratios.

“I think we have an uphill battle with the lobbyists from Big Pharma, Hospital Association, and insurance companies,” Hunter said. “I don’t think hospitals should be like other businesses.”

Sen. Anwar said they’re going to give hospitals plenty of time to get ratios where they need to be and it will be strongly enforced.

Hunter mentioned, “I’m also concerned about the retribution towards staff speak up when the staffing isn’t adequate.”

Sen. Anwar covered those concerns by stating after a decision is made the terms should be in effect by 2028.

“We are giving enough time to change the recruitment and retention of their staff, Sen. Anwar said. “By at least 2028, these ratios will be the way to go.”

Hunter argued that the country does not have a shortage of nurses, but the majority of registered nurses would work if they were guaranteed appropriate staffing and support from management.

On Wednesday, a public hearing is slated in the legislative office building at 11 a.m.

The deadline to submit a testimony is tomorrow at 3 p.m.