Minnesota nurses call on legislature to improve staffing concerns in hospitals

Nurses in Minnesota are calling for the Minnesota Legislature to enact laws that improve staffing conditions in hospitals in light of a new report, according to a news release from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA).

The MNA shared the results of its annual Concern for Safe Staffing (CFSS) report on Thursday in a news release.

Minnesota nurses submit CFSS forms when they are worried that short staffing is negatively impacting patients, according to the union. These impacts can include a gap in administering medication, a delay in completing a patient assessment and answering patient call lights.

The CFSS report blames hospital managers and executives for failing to appropriately respond to nurses’ concerns for patient safety in almost 90% of the 8,437 forms submitted last year.

“As registered nurses, we are expected to deliver high quality, safe, ethical, and therapeutic care despite the poor conditions executives created in our hospitals,” said Doreen McIntyre, a nurse at Children’s Minnesota who is also MNA’s second vice president. “Hospital executives continue to foster conditions where nurses face inadequate staffing levels and insufficient resources to provide the quality care patients deserve. We need real, concrete solutions to the staffing crisis in Minnesota.”

There are over 130,000 registered nurses in Minnesota, the highest ever in state history, according to the union. But nurses are leaving their jobs due to unsafe conditions, the MNA says, citing their 2023 Nursing Workforce Report, which adds that 80% of those nurses would be willing to come back to their bedside jobs if conditions improve.

The “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act” that the union has been urging state lawmakers to pass has already cleared both the House and Senate and is just waiting for a conference committee’s approval to send the bill to the governor.

DFL lawmakers have said the act, which would create committees to help set staffing levels for each hospital and unit, will result in safer hospitals and better patient care. Republicans have opposed it, saying it focuses more on mandates than improving care and affordability for patients.

The full MNA 2022 Concern for Safe Staffing summary report can be read below: