National Campaign for Safe RN-to-Patient Staffing Ratios


Some nurses call it “ratios.” Others call it “safe staffing” or “patient limits.” No matter how we label the concept, registered nurses across the United States and, indeed, the globe understand the need to set a minimum number of nurses to safely care for a certain number of patients. Too often, our employers cut RN staffing down, down, down to extremely risky levels in order to cut costs and up profits.

Nurses know better. We know that fewer patient assignments mean more time -- time to care for people in their most vulnerable moments, time to comfort, time to watch for subtle changes and to attend to tiny details, time to educate a patient, time to explain things to and reassure a worried family member. We became nurses to help people, and safe staffing helps us fulfill our caring mission as we learned and intended.

Every patient deserves a single standard of high-quality care. Thirty years of research has established that ratios, coupled with nurses’ powerful voice of advocacy secured in our union contracts, protect our patients from complications that arise from missed care such as medical errors, health care disparities, infections, and so much more.

Despite the clear need for and benefits of ratios, nurses and patients in only a few places in the entire world -- California and some states in Australia -- are protected by hospital-wide, safe minimum nurse staffing ratios written into law.

Why then aren’t safe staffing ratios automatically the standard in nursing care? Because the hospital industry rejects all regulations of its actions and wants to be free to maximize profits by imposing any sort of working conditions it wants on its nursing staff -- patient (and nurse) safety be damned.

The industry will never voluntarily agree to real safe staffing laws; nurses must organize collectively to build the political power necessary to pass such legislation across the United States and beyond!

Join us to win this desperately needed, common-sense solution to health care profiteering. Because safe staffing saves lives.

Read our full booklet on Ratios

By the Numbers

Proposed Federal RN-to-Patient Safe Staffing Ratios chart