Nurses Lobbying in Harrisburg for Safe Staffing Ratios
Nurses in Pennsylvania can't take it anymore. Some are burned out. Some are not physically able to do the work anymore. They blame insufficient staffing for their problems. They also say patients are not getting the best care because nurses have too many people who need their attention.
Two years ago, nurses created their own organization called Nurses of Pennsylvania. Its main purpose is to lobby state lawmakers to change the nurse per patient ratios in hospitals and nursing homes.
Shelbie Stromyer is a member. She will be spending part of National Nurses Week in Harrisburg. She and fellow nurses will be talking with legislators, attending meetings of the House Health Committee, and holding special events to convince lawmakers to change those nurse to patient numbers.
Stromyer believes there is no shortage of licensed nurses, just a shortage of nurses who work on the floors. She says older nurses who are burned out or who can't take the physical demands would stay if they get more help. She says younger nurses would also stay. They're now leaving the floors, ER's and OR’s and taking jobs as nurse practitioners, or in informatics, and education.
Stromyer says all these things will be shared with the lawmakers.
"The nurses are starting to talk now. They're getting together. They’re discussing. They're telling their stories and the stories are atrocious. I thought my story was bad. I've had nurses come back and tell me a story that was even worse. And that's sad because all we want to do is care for our patients,” she said.
Erie News Now reached out to UPMC Hamot and St. Vincent Hospital on this issue. Hamot has no statement at this time and St. Vincent will issue a statement soon.