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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Nurse Staffing Legislation
09/07/2009

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The Texas Legislature has enacted nurse staffing requirements designed to encourage greater retention of registered nurses and promote adequate levels of nurse staffing. The new law, authored by Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, became effective Sept. 1.

Hospitals and nurses share an interest in creating and sustaining healthy environments for nurses. Research has shown that adequate nurse staffing directly correlates to positive patient outcomes and nurse satisfaction.

The new law requires each hospital to maintain a standing nurse staffing committee that reports directly to the hospital’s governing board. Sixty percent of committee members must be bedside nurses chosen by their peers. These committees are responsible for developing hospital-specific staffing plans to ensure that an adequate number and skill mix of nurses are available to meet the level of patient care needed.

The legislation also prohibits mandatory overtime for nurses, except during a natural disaster or other emergency that requires an increase in health care personnel. I applaud our legislature for addressing this issue. Ensuring adequate nurse staffing levels in hospitals is the right thing for nurses, for hospitals, and for patients.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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