Minnesota nurses deliver more than 2,000 unsafe staffing reports to Commissioner of Health

On Tuesday, nurses from all over Minnesota met with Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger to deliver more than 2,000 unsafe staffing reports and ask for support for a Safe Patient Standard to protect patient safety in Minnesota hospitals.

“We are bringing these Valentines from nurses on day shift, night shift, holiday shift, weekends, holidays,” said Minnesota Nurses Association president Linda Hamilton. “Here’s proof that we need more nurses. We want to do what’s best for our patients.”

Nurses document unsafe staffing in their hospitals by filling out Concern for Safe Staffing Forms and sharing them with their supervisors and the Minnesota Nurses Association. The CFSS form differs from the state’s Adverse Event report because the CFSS form documents incidents where patients could have been harmed or didn’t receive proper care, rather than death or serious injury due to a provider’s care.

In 2014, Minnesota nurses filed 2,148 unsafe staffing reports, the highest number of incidences since nurses began tracking unsafe staffing.

Nurses across the country are pushing for increased measures that would protect patient safety. Bills for safe staffing are currently being sponsored in New Jersey and Oregon. Nurses say there is a clear correlation between staffing levels and quality of care and patient outcomes. In New Jersey, some nurses have resigned due to unsafe staffing issues, which they say are putting patients at serious risk, according to NJBiz.

Last week in Minnesota, nurses met with lawmakers to advocate for legislation that would protect patient safety in Minnesota hospitals. Nurses from as far away as Bagley, Thief River Falls, Duluth, and Sleepy Eye came to the Capitol to tell legislators their stories of poor hospital staffing and risks to patient safety.

Commissioner Ehlinger said he and his staff would review the forms, which will inform their policy discussions.

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