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MN nurses union calls for legislation on hospital staffing

Star Tribune, February 29, 2012

The Minnesota Nurses Association, which made "safe staffing" its rallying cry during a one-day strike in 2010, is calling for legislation to set a limit on how many patients may be assigned to hospital nurses. At a press conference in St. Paul Tuesday, union leaders accused hospital officials of breaking promises made after the strike to work with nurses to address staffing questions. They also said they collected nearly 1,000 reports in the last half of 2011 from nurses who said patients were endangered by inadequate staffing levels. The new legislation, called the 2012 Staffing for Patient Safety Act, would set a maximum number of patients for each nurse, depending on the level of care required. Union officials were joined by two legislative supporters, Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker.