Annual polling released by nurses’ union light on details, heavy on overstatement

BOSTON, MA –May 8, 2018– A new survey released this week by the proponents of government mandated nurses staffing ratios skews the sample set and provides virtually no public information on the actual poll. The Massachusetts nurses’ union paid for and designed the survey, which oversampled union nurses by 200 percent. In its press release touting the new survey, the union failed to disclose the sample size, the margin of error or the wording of the questions, falling below the accepted standards of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

The union, which has unsuccessfully pushed for inflexible staffing ratios for twenty years while indoctrinating its members with messaging, predictably found that every response from the heavily weighted field increased the numbers in the union’s favor. The glaring holes in the research did not stop the union from accepting the numbers as fact and continuing to falsely claim that other scientific studies support its position.

“There are no scientific studies or reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of government mandated, one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratio for improving quality of care, patient outcomes or professional nursing practice.” said Donna Glynn, President of the American Nurses Association and a Nurse Scientist for the VA Boston Healthcare System. “In fact, no studies evaluating nurse staffing ratios reported a magic number as the single factor to affect patient outcomes or job satisfaction. This ballot question is ignoring scientific fact around what is best for nursing practice, decision making and quality patient care.”

The Massachusetts nurses’ union represents less than 25 percent of nurses in Massachusetts yet made up 46 percent of respondents in the new survey. Aside from claiming that the “majority of the nurses surveyed are not members of the MNA,” the union press release does not disclose the sample size or margin of error, and details are only available by request to a union spokesperson, rather than posted online for peer or public review.

“The potential impacts of this government mandated staffing ratios are far too great to be decided based on misleading and incomplete information,” said Dan Cence, spokesman for the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety. “Our coalition is committed to full and complete transparency, and encourage voters to read the countless valid and unbiased studies that show the immense costs and questionable value of this ill-considered measure.”

The Coalition to Protect Patient Safety includes the American Nurses Association Massachusetts, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other healthcare leaders committed to protecting the state’s healthcare system and its patients from the consequences of the rigid, costly nurse staffing mandate that is expected to be placed before voters in the November 2018 election.

Learn more about the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety at and


Dan Cence