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Bipartisan plan to support nurses introduced

(Jean-Marie Guyon)
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 9:44 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Nurses Association along with a bipartisan group of state legislators are introducing the Safe Patient Care Act

“There were three bills in the house and three bills in the senate and the bills do a number of different things that are all centered around ensuring basically safe patient care in the hospitals,” said Rep. Rabhi.

Democratic State Representative Yousef Rabhi says these bills limit the number of patients a nurse can care for, in addition to limiting forced overtime.

“What these bills due is they say you know we’re not gonna have forced overtime anymore and we’re not gonna have situations where there’s not enough nurses on the floor to care for people,” said Rep. Rabhi.

Katie Pontifex is a nurse at Sparrow Health and a board member of the Michigan Nurses Association.

She says the limited support for nurses out on the front line drastically dropped when COVID-19 hit.

“Many nurses work until or beyond the age of eligibility for retirement and when they were classified as high-risk population. Those who could take retirement did and that then further exacerbated the staffing shortage that we see across the nation,” said Katie Pontifex.

She says when one nurse cares for more patients than they’re supposed to it puts patients at risk for infection and even death and the shortage of staff also eliminates the ability to connect and bond with patients.

“The scary piece of that for a bedside nurse is what if I miss something? What if I’m caring for these acutely ill patients and because I’m with patient in room one, I miss a critical piece of something that’s happening with patient in room 5 that then leads to a detrimental outcome for them?” said Pontifex.

She says she misses the days where she could provide quality time in addition to quality care for her patients.

“I never want my patients just be a room number or a diagnosis. I want to be able to sit with them, know them, talk about their family, their grandkids, their pets, whatever we can connect on,” said Pontifex.

Representative Rabhi feels confident that soon -- she’ll be able to do that again through the Safe Patient Care Act.’

“It’s bipartisan and bicameral and we are very hopeful that we will get this moving,” said Rep. Rabhi.

An effort to protect both hospital patients and those called to care for them.

“We really want to give and provide that care that we so desperately want to do. It’s cliché to say that nursing is a calling. But ultimately, if you’re not in this profession for a calling, then you’re in the wrong profession,” said Pontifex.

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