[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I published a letter last week from a resident urging voters to oppose Ballot Question 1. This is the second of two apparent responses I received from residents arguing in favor of the initiative.]
To the Editor:
As a bedside nurse for over 25 years, I urge Southborough voters to vote YES on Question 1.
Our patients are sicker and medical management is more complex, placing increased responsibilities on the nurse to ensure positive patient outcomes. When you or a loved one is admitted to the hospital, it is because you need 24-hour care and observation; it’s the nurse at your bedside who will monitor and care for you. Massachusetts hospitals have been given years to decrease nurse-to-patient ratios to safeguard patient safety; they haven’t done it and patient care is suffering.
Organizations that are sponsoring the campaign to defeat Question 1 are using fear tactics and lies. There is research to support the need for safe patient ratios. Safe patient ratios improve patient outcomes, improve patient flow, can reduce emergency room wait times, and can save hospitals money through reduced readmission rates. This law allows me to use my nursing judgement, requires collaboration between nurses and administrators by using an acuity tool, has flexible ratios depending on unit, it would be illegal to lay off other members of the health care team and yes, will require time to implement once passed as determined by the Health Policy Committee; much like the marajuana law, it will take time. California has had safe patient ratios since 2004 and it is working and no hospitals have closed, patient outcomes are improved and health insurance costs are less than here in MA. I encourage you to review the literature found at www.safepatientlimits.org. As a $28 billion industry, MA hospitals can afford to staff safely. Hospitals make choices every day and we are asking for them to invest in safe patient care.
Would you like your child, your loved ones, your friends to be cared for by a nurse who has 5, 6, or more patients…. or be cared for by a nurse who has less patients? It’s just common sense. Please chose patient safety over profits and Vote yes on question 1.
Laurie Bourdon RN