Legislation is a first step in ensuring nurse and patient safety in Minnesota hospitals
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – On the last day of the 2023 Legislative Senate Monday, the Senate passed a bipartisan package aimed to help the difficult situation facing nurses across the state. The package, called the Nurse and Patient Safety Act, passed in a bipartisan vote of 40-25.
“Nurses come to work every day and every night to deliver high-quality care for patients, but across Minnesota, our nurses are being put into impossible situations where their own safety is at risk and where patient care is severely challenged,” said Senator Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester) a registered nurse herself who helped craft the bill and voted yes for its passage. “This bill is a first step to helping people stay in nursing thanks to student loan forgiveness and requiring a study for why nurses are leaving the bedside, but much more is needed.”
The Nurse and Patient Safety Act requires hospitals to create Action Plan Committees to develop a response plan to incidents, includes penalties for hospitals that fail to follow the developed plans, adds nurses to an existing student loan forgiveness program, and requires a study from the Commissioner of Health about the state of nurses working in hospitals in Minnesota.
The Nurse and Patient Safety Act began as the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, a comprehensive package to strengthen nursing and bedside care that features stronger protections from workplace violence and greater inclusion of direct care nurses in staffing planning decisions at most Minnesota hospitals. Unfortunately, due to extensive lobbying pressure from corporate hospital systems and the Mayo Clinic, that bill was defeated.
“I am incredibly disappointed by the corporate pressure that was applied in the waning hours of session to kill the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act,” said Sen. Boldon. “We also were not going to leave our nurses behind. This may not be everything that is necessary, but it is a start. Along with my colleagues, I will continue to work to improve the conditions facing our nurses and make sure that they have the support they need.”