I have been a nurse for 22 years and am now an emergency department director. For years we have built a movement to increase acceptance of nursing as a profession. A hugely meaningful part of my job is working to empower my nurses, many of whom are young women, to think critically and make decisions based on their professional judgment. Crucial to that effort is teaching them to create assignments that account for patient acuity and the experience of the department nurses.
The union promoting the harmful nurse staffing measure represents less than a quarter of nurses in Massachusetts. If nurses truly believed that this union elevated their profession, membership would be higher. This bill would wipe away the work we have done to empower nurses and our profession. It would be government-based rather than person-driven.
I worry that people in Massachusetts don’t yet understand the burden this will place on them. There will be insurance increases. Some hospitals, unable to absorb the increased expenditure, may close. Ambulances, stalled at the ER, won’t be able to get back out into the community.
Nothing good can come from taking on nurses with inadequate experience in order to meet a mandate; it doesn’t help the patient or elevate the profession. Our job is to provide safe care, and we are the ones who should make care decisions. I hope you will initiate conversations about this harmful bill in your communities, and vote ‘no’ to government-mandated nurse staffing in November.
Director of Emergency Services, Emerson Hospital