This week, I met Theresa Puckett, the nurse you saw on CNN who was fired for staying home sick with the flu. I spoke to a nurse from Tennessee whose brother suffered brain damage directly related to understaffing when he was admitted to an overflow unit after a car accident. We spoke to Representatives and Senators, nursing leaders and hundreds and hundreds of nurses from Oregon to New Jersey.
This all took place in Washington, DC to support the #nursestakesdc rally with allnurses.com and fellow speaker, Nurse Keith Carlson. We were there with national nurse leaders, Show Me Your Stethoscope (SYS), and Congressmen to support nurse-patient ratios and safe staffing.
Your help is needed to prevent patient harm due to unsafe staffing.
Here are 7 Things You Can Do To Support Safe Staffing
1. REPORT Unsafe Staffing Anonymously
You are going to love this! For those of you that are not familiar with FlosWhistle.org: This is a new, anonymous reporting site for unsafe staffing issues. The information is recorded by zip code and shared on a heat map by congressional district. The QR code on the meme is scan-able and will take you directly to the site, or go to FlosWhistle.org. Without your reports this site is useless! Please check it out.
2. EDUCATE Yourself
3. TAKE A Stance
It’s no longer OK to be on the fence. Sitting on the fence does not prevent patient harm.
- Are you for safe nurse-patient ratios?
- Or are you against safe nurse-patient ratios and for “Staffing Committees” (no ratios)?
I’m from California, and ratios work! Read the Real Story Behind Ratios
4. IDENTIFY Your Representatives
Here’s what you can do. First, find out who your representatives are by your zip code. Find Your Rep by Zip. Use this link to find your representative and Senators by your zip code. You have one representative and two Senators.
You should contact all three.
5. CALL Your Representatives.
Everyone reading this can make three phone calls. One to your Representative, one to each Senator (each state has two). Your representatives want to hear from you, their constituents. Nurses are the most trusted profession. Tell them who you are, and which bill you want them to support/co-sponsor. We are asking them to support/co-sponsor Senate Bill 1063 and House of Representatives Bill 2392.
When you contact your representative or senators, be clear and to the point. Here’s an example:
“Hello, my name is Beth Hawkes, I’m an RN and a constituent of Kevin McCarthy. I am calling to ask that Representative Kevin McCarthy support HR bill 2392 by adding his name as a co-sponsor. “
6. MEET Your Representative in Your Town
Call to make an appointment. Bring other nurses with you. Have a short elevator speech prepared, include a short story from your experience, and respectfully ask for their support.
7. MAKE Connections
To educate others, ask “Tell me, have you had a loved one in the hospital? Did you know how many patients your loved one’s nurse was assigned?” Chances are they did not. Don’t miss this opportunity to educate the public and make history. Flo would be proud.