Nurses Seek Limits on Number of Assigned Patients

State Capitol – The Illinois Nurses Assn, say they need the state to make it clear in the law that nurses can only handle so many patients per RN. That number they say would vary depending upon the clinical setting and the condition of the patient.

Setting limits — in hospitals, clinics or nursing homes would mean more operating costs, as hospitals would need to hire more nurses, or have them work longer hours. And administrators say they have problems hiring nurses as it is — so that setting a patient work load too small, to force hospitals to have more nurses on duty on each shift may not be possible.

This shortage of nurses is particularly a problem in rural areas of the state, where their small pool of available RN’s is already causing staffing problems. In their press comments at the State Capitol, nurses spoke to the overload of patients that forces them to be stretched too thin, resulting in poor patient care.

The nurses call for legislation they call “Safe Patient Limits” The nurses agree that there are a shortage of nurses, but respond that one primary reason for the shortage is due to the working conditions, and that too many nurses leave the field as a result of burnout. They argue by limiting the number of patients per nurse, it will help hospitals and other locations, to cut down on their turnover of nursing staff.