Nurses are lobbying Ohio legislators to get a bill that mandates safe staffing ratios in hospitals.

Nurses from all over Ohio gathered at the State House to support legislation they say will improve patient care. Their top priority is a bill that would set staffing levels across the state.

Columbus nurse Greg Goodman said his hospital’s contract with the union that represents him and other nurses included agreed ratios that were put in place to ensure individual nurses don’t have more patients than they can handle. But he said that was not the case for the state. And he said that’s the problem.

“You have one hospital with this staff ratio, another hospital with the same staff ratio. Different departments have different staff ratios, and that’s not safe,” Goodman said. “As a patient, you might say, ‘Well, I want to go to this hospital because it’s a union hospital and they have a staffing ratio, so I want to go to this hospital.’ It would be great if we had a state law that would put us all on an equal footing.”

The nurses said the lack of staff puts them at risk of becoming victims of workplace violence. Elizabeth Tritiacre, a Columbus nurse, explained that sensible staffing is key to improving patient care and reducing mistakes or violence in the workplace.

“If we can’t properly care for patients because that’s what we do every day, because our hands are tied, we don’t have the proper staff, we get beat up at work, etc., then it’s really not the case. . only nurses are suffering, but this is public health in Ohio,” Tritiacre said.

No bill was introduced this year to set these staffing levels, but nurses said they hope they can change that. There have been bills in the past defining the staffing table, but they have not been passed.

The nurses said they are ready to work with Ohio legislators to develop legislation based on research and evidence that has proven to work.

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