Limiting patients is crucial for nurses’ retention

Illinois is facing a nurse shortage and the solution is solving is to use the California model. The project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute have released the findings on Monday which says that adopting a patient-to-staff ratio could help the nurse crisis in Illinois.

The working conditions for nurses in California are much better than in Illinois, according to “Do Nurse Staffing Standards Work? Evidence From a 2018 Survey of Registered Nurses”. The study co-author and UIUC Professor Emily E. LB. Twarog says “While past research has shown that Illinois faces a significant nurse shortage and retention problem, this survey directly links California’s safe-staffing law with dramatic improvements in the workplace environment and responsive patient care indicators.”

The study reveals that California is the only state in the U.S that has implemented the patient limits. California has mandated for all hospitals and health care units that there will be at least one nurse attending every two patients in intensive care. There will be one nurse for three patients in labor and delivery, four patients in pediatrics, five patients in medical-surgical units, and six patients in psychiatrics.

Grassroots group Nurses Take D.C conducted a nationwide survey last October in which more than 9,000 nurses were surveyed. The survey found that the best results in hospitals are found in California and much “dramatically better” than Illinois. 331 California and 508 Illinois nurse’s responses were compared and it found that the conditions are better for those in California on a range of issues.

The study stated that “As the only state with safe patient limits, California’s staffing standards and workplace safety have fostered an environment where more nurses feel that staffing is based on the needs of patients and more nurses feel that the patient-to-nurse ratio is safe.” There were efforts in the legislature to tackle this issue as state Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates and state Sen. Cristina Castro of Elgin submitted legislation separately this year but failed to go forward in the General Assembly.

Staff writer for the Chicago Morning Star

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