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Home > Article Categories > Nursing Jobs > Texans Push for ?Pro-People Bill?

Texans Push for ?Pro-People Bill?

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Hundreds of nurses rallied in front of the Texas Capitol building to support two bills that would address the nursing shortage in the state. America is widely facing a nursing shortage crisis as schools produce few new nurses and existing nurses are being leeched from hospitals by retirement or job burnout, while the ever-aging baby boomers demand more and more healthcare and medical attention. As the country struggles against this pervasive problem, some states have taken matters into their own hands, and passed legislation aimed at increasing the supply of nursing staff and ensuring quality healthcare to its residents. While Texans seem to agree that the critical nursing shortage in the state should be addressed, it is harder to agree on the best solution.
The two bills the nurses gathered to show support for in March were House Bill 1948 by (D)Rep. Senfronia Thompson, and Senate Bill 1000 by (D)Sen. Mario Gallegos. These bills would mandate a maximum nursing ration of  6 ? 1, and would take into account varying patient conditions. Texas is one of only eleven states that have previously legislated on patient ? nurse ratios. The previous limit in the Lone Star State is set at 8 ? 1.
The state officials who proposed these two bills have interest in the quality of state patient care, but also have had negative personal experiences with hospitals due to the nursing shortage. Rep. Thompson told reporters at the Lubbock Avalanche Journal that one of her grandchildren was taken to the emergency room with a temperature of 104, but did not receive care for four hours due to inadequate staffing of nurses. Sen. Gallegos also understands the precariousness of patient care during our current nursing shortage. He reflected upon his experience receiving a liver transplant two years ago, remarking that people often dismiss the troubles of the nursing shortage until they are sick, hospitalized, and facing some situation in which the availability and attentiveness of nurse becomes a life-or-death matter.
Thompson clarified to the assembly that his proposed legislation "is not an anti-hospital bill, it's a pro-people's bill." Still, HB1948 and SB1000 have not gone uncontested. Other legislators looking to tackle the nursing shortage, but by different means, have introduced alternative bills to the senate. (R) Sen. Jane Nelson and (D) Sen. Donna Howard proposed a bill that would, instead, prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses, extend whistleblower protection to nurses who report negligent care at hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as taking nurses' opinions into account when regulating working conditions and addressing patient ? nurse ratios. This particular bill has the support of the hospital industry and business groups.
However, both proposals would effectively target job burnout amongst nurses. Though not the only cause of our current nursing shortage, successfully addressing the high job turnover rate for nurses would significantly alleviate the strain on our healthcare system. One of the main reasons cited for nurses leaving their jobs is stress due to inadequate staffing. Nurses realize they have too many patients to properly care for, but their only options are to quit their job, or to pick up the increasing slack of those who have finally had enough. According to the Journal, surveys show that of Texas' 155,707 resident registered nurses, 20.3 percent (31,666 nurses) do not currently work in the nursing profession because they consider it unsafe, mainly due to the extremely high patient ? nurse ratio.
Nurse burnout is a particularly troublesome part of the problem because it so exacerbates the situation. Fortunately for Texas' patients and nurses, legislators are taking extra measures to create better work environments for nurses and safer hospitals for patients.

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