Michigan Nurses Urge Lawmakers To Pass Bills Limiting Hospital Nurse-To-Patient Ratios

Jul 21, 2021

The Michigan Nursing Association is urging lawmakers to approve a package of bills to prevent nurses from being overworked.

The Safe Patient Care Act is a bipartisan plan to regulate nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and restrict forced overtime hours for nurses.

Katie Pontifex is a bedside nurse at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. She said nurses don’t always have a limit to the number of patients they are required to care for during a shift.

“So, in hospitals and nursing homes around the state, we are seeing nurses and LPNs (licensed practical nurses) care for upwards of 9 to 12 patients in a hospital setting, or 25 plus patients in a nursing home setting, that they're responsible for those medications .... That's not safe," she said. 

She said the legislation would help nurses from burning out while ensuring they have the capacity to provide quality care to patients.

For her, the pandemic highlighted the poor working conditions nurses are often forced to work under.

“We were seeing nurses being held over for 16, 20, 24 hour shifts, or they were staying very late and having to come back again the next morning. Proper rest is imperative for us doing medical care," she added.  

The measures would also require hospitals to disclose nurse-to-patient ratios. The bill package was introduced earlier this year in both the state House and Senate.