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Massachusetts RNs launch signature drive for safe patient limits

Massachusetts Nurses Association Press Release, 9/23/13

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Join the campaign, help us gather signatures to protect our patients

On September 18, MNA nurses kicked off the signature campaign to put safe patient limits on the ballot. Packets with petitions and instructions have gone out to all bargaining units. Please see your local bargaining unit committee chair, committee member, or floor rep to get petitions – or you can call the MNA office at 781.821.4625 (and ask for the membership department)  to get petitions and instructions. Sign and circulate the petition today! Working together we can make safe staffing the law in Massachusetts!

What is a ballot initiative and why are we doing one?
A ballot initiative is a process that empowers the voters to propose legislation and to enact or reject that legislation at the polls. It is a process that is independent of the state Legislature and its lawmaking power, which means that it is a type of election that is commenced and carried out by the people.

The purpose of a ballot initiative is to permit registered voters to resolve questions where their elected representatives have failed or refused to proceed with a change that the public desires.

With these details in mind, MNA members made a motion at last year’s annual convention requesting that a ballot initiative specific to safe patient care get underway. The motion passed overwhelmingly. Why? Because MNA nurses everywhere knew that it was time to take control of their destiny and to stop relying on the Legislature.

Furthermore, the research and data specific to safe patient care entirely support the MNA’s efforts on this front. For example:

  • Higher nurse workloads are associated with more patient deaths, complications, and medical errors (AHRQ Healthcare Innovations Exchange, September 2012).
  • Overcrowding and understaffing have had a negative effect on patient safety and quality of care, evidenced by the flourishing of health care-acquired MRSA infections (Lancet Infectious Disease, July 2008).
  • A national study on the rate of death from cardiac arrest in hospitals found that the risk of death from cardiac arrest in the hospital is nearly 20 percent higher on the night shift. The authors highlight understaffing during the night shift as a potential explanation for the death rate (JAMA, February 2008).

Equally compelling are the following statistics:

Tools for the ballot initiative

“Just Ask” at PatientSafetyAct.com: The recently launched “Just Ask” campaign is a grassroots effort to create awareness with the public about the safety and protections that should be available to every patient who is admitted to a hospital.

Found online at PatientSafetyAct.com, the web site is replete with facts and background information, and also includes an easy-to-use letter writing tool that the public can use to contact the legislature about safe patient care.

Facebook: Located at facebook.com/JustAskAboutPatientSafety, this public forum provides a perfect venue to networking, collaborating and organizing in support of patient safety. Visit and “like!”

Twitter: Read tweets, share your tweets and re-tweet what’s hot on and from twitter.com/PatientSafetyMA

 

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