I’ve been an ER nurse for over 25 years, and I oppose ballot Question 1 because patients’ needs vary every day. Strict nurse staffing ratios would cause ER wait times to skyrocket: critically sick and injured people will come through our doors and nurses will not be allowed to care for them. I know my skill level and capabilities, and I know that of each of my nurses too.
Implementing a blanket rule is not workable. It will prevent team flexibility and be insulting to nurses. It says we aren’t smart enough to make our own decisions. Of course, that is far from true. There are amazing medical professionals in every hospital. With this one-size-fits-all mentality, we’ll lose the knowledge of experts while doing a huge disservice to novice nurses.
We already can’t find nurses for our vacant positions. I’m extremely nervous about the costs to my small community hospital, which serves a lower-income, often uninsured population. We don’t have the money for a staff influx. People will lose jobs because we won’t be able to maintain our current level of services.
Question 1 is harmful to nursing, the health-care system, and certainly does not serve the interests of patients. I hope you will consider voting no.
Director of Emergency Services
Lawrence General Hospital