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1,000 Nurses Call on Congress to Act Now on Patient Safety

Our friends at the California Nurses Association report that “more than 1,000 registered nurses from across the country rallied in Washington DC Wednesday, raising an unprecedented, unified voice for patient safety reforms and new, national standards for patient care conditions and standards for nurses.

NNU Rally 2010 Washington DC
NNU Rally 2010 Washington DC
The event was sponsored by the nation’s largest nurses’ union and professional association, the 155,000-member National Nurses United, which came to Washington to press the case for quality of care legislation that was not part of the national healthcare bill enacted earlier this year, and to build on the unity of RNs who are NNU members from coast to coast.In addition to a march, rally, and conference, the RNs visited nearly 100 members of Congress, prodding legislators to work on the unfinished business of healthcare reform, quality of care and patient safety. The actions coincided with National Nurses Week.Noting recent national attention on the West Virginia mining disaster and the Gulf Coast oil spill, NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN said that “similar accidents happen every day away from the media spotlight in U.S. hospitals and other healthcare settings. It’s time to act to protect our patients and our communities.””We’re the voice of not only nurses but patients across the country,” said NNU Co-President Karen Higgins, RN. “When we leave this room I want everyone to remember that. When it comes time to make decisions about healthcare and people say ‘leave it to the experts,’ tell them ‘I am the expert.’ “Among the legislative solutions are S 1031/HR 2133 that would, among other components, establish minimum ratios of nurses to patients for all U.S. hospitals, modeled after a successful California law, and S 1788/HR 2381 which would also promote nurse retention and reduce patient accidents and injuries by establishing safe patient lifting and handling policies.Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, author of S 1788, hosted a hearing on the bill Tuesday at which several nurses on hand for the week cited experiences that demonstrated the need for the bill.Speaking Wednesday to an NNU rally across from the Capitol, Franken told the RNs, “You are the ones we look to for advice, comfort, expertise and care. You are tireless advocates for the country’s well-being. You’re the ones we trust to care for our loved ones, that’s what your expertise is, and it’s simply unacceptable that you’re putting your own health on the line to care for patients.””Now it’s time to make sure that all nurses in all states have access to a safe workplace. One injured nurse is one too many. Employers have a fundamental obligation to put in place a safe working environment for all workers and nurses are no exception,” Franken said.” Read the rest at >

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