Press Release

Maine nurses to hold community forum on nurse staffing crisis and public health

Maine nurses taking action for safe staffing, holding banner that reads "Bedside nurses support ratios!"

RN speakers to discuss nurse-to-patient ratios, public health, and health care system

Members of the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA), in partnership with the Dr. Charles A. Scontras Center for Labor and Community Education at the University of Southern Maine (USM), will hold a community forum on Tuesday, December 5, on the current nurse staffing crisis and what can be done about it. The forum is co-sponsored by the Muskie School of Public Service, the Maine Women’s Lobby, and Maine People’s Alliance.

This event will feature Associate Professor Karen Lasater, RN, Ph.D., who is a national expert on nurse staffing issues and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s nursing school, as well as local direct-care nurses who will discuss their work in Maine hospitals and California Nurses Association member Meagan Prudin, RN, who will discuss her experience with California’s nurse-to-patient ratios law that was enacted more than two decades ago.

“We look forward to welcoming members of our community to this forum,” said MSNA President Cokie Giles, RN. “We hope to have an open and lively discussion about what’s wrong with our healthcare system and how it can be fixed.”

Who: Members of Maine State Nurses Association; University of Pennsylvania Associate Professor Karen Lasater, RN, Ph.D.; and Meagan Pruden, RN and member of California Nurses Association
What: Community forum on nurse staffing crisis and public health
Where: McGoldrick Center, Salon A, University of Southern Maine, Portland campus
When: Tuesday, December 5, 6 p.m.

There will be time for questions and answers with attendees.

MSNA supports LD 1639, “The Maine Quality Care Act,” sponsored by State Senator Stacy Brenner. This bill would create safe staffing through nurse-to-patient ratios, similar to California’s ratios system.

According to data from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maine has added more active RN licenses every year since at least 2018. According to the most recent data, Maine has more than 12,000 more RNs licensed than currently employed. This means that working RNs account for only about 60 percent of active RN licenses in Maine.

Nationally, a recent analysis conducted by National Nurses United using 2022 data from the BLS and the NCSBN found that there are over a million registered nurses with active licenses who are choosing not to work at the bedside.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.