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Nurses: We’re overworked and spread too thin

WWMT (CBS), 2/17/10

By Staff
February 17, 2010

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Nurses say they're overworked and spread too thin and it's affecting your safety.

They teamed up with lawmakers Tuesday night in Kalamazoo to rally support.

They're laying out the basics of new legislation that would regulate patient care across the state. House Bill 40-08 does two things. It creates a minimum nurse to patient ratio in hospitals and it also bans mandatory overtime.

The Michigan Nurses Association says hospitals are cutting costs by cutting staff, making them work back-to-back shifts and cover more patients than they can handle.

"Administrators are claiming it's due to the economics and finances behind it. However, nurses still need their numbers to be able to do what we're supposed to be doing which is safe patient care," said Shawn Shuler, who supports the bill.

"Right now in law there are rules that govern how many hours a pilot can fly, how many hours a truck driver can drive, but no number of hours a nurse can be forced to work," said Ken Fletcher of the Michigan Nurses Association.

The MNA says hospitals would actually save money in the long run by hiring more nurses. It says it would cut back on staff burnout and hospital turnaround and also cut down on infections and injuries among patients.

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