Colleges of nursing across Massachusetts already cannot graduate enough nurses to comply with mandates in nurse staffing ratio ballot question

BOSTON, MA – May 11, 2018 – The state Board of Registration in Nursing voted Wednesday to withdraw approval of Quincy College’s nursing programs, effectively shutting the program down at the end of the academic year and further squeezing the pipeline of trained nurses in Massachusetts. Nursing schools across the state already lacked capacity to graduate enough nurses to comply with the mandated nurse staffing ratios that voters will be asked to approve through a union-backed ballot question in November.

According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, the healthcare system would be required to hire 5,911 RNs within 37 days of the ballot question passing, a huge burden for hospitals across Massachusetts who already struggle to fill vacancies due to a lack of nurses. The loss of an accredited nursing institution like the Quincy College nursing program is another huge blow to a healthcare system that already faces a nursing shortage, with more than 1,200 vacancies across the state.

The ballot question, proposed by the Massachusetts nurses’ union, which represents less than a quarter of nurses in the Commonwealth, would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas. The petition does not make allowances for rural or small community hospitals, where the nursing shortage is most acute, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.

“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-Elect 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.”

Leading healthcare organizations from across the state have made it clear that the proposed staffing ratios are a bad idea for patients, healthcare professionals and hospitals. The Massachusetts Associations of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, the New England Chapter of the Infusion Nurses Society and other healthcare leaders joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety in protecting the state’s healthcare system and its patients from the consequences of this rigid, costly 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