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Oregon’s Nurse Staffing Law: Where Do We Go From Here?

Nurses who practice in acute care in Oregon’s hospitals have experience practicing day after day under super (sometimes), okay (sometimes) and terrible staffing (sometimes) on their units and within their hospitals. We sit geographically between a state that has been unable to bring their staffing law to a workable end, and on the other side, a state which has successfully passed nurse staffing legislation that is lauded for the positive outcomes for patients and for nurses' rarely missed meals/breaks. It’s time to take stock and identify changes that should and can be made to the Oregon Nurse Staffing Law.

An ONA action report on Nurse Staffing was presented and adopted at our 2012 April Convention in the House of Delegates. This action plan calls for a formal evaluation of the law. Here are the steps that will be taken this summer and into the fall of 2012 to complete such an evaluation.

In August, a one day meeting will be held in Eugene, Oregon in which direct care nurses who are experienced in the use of the law will recommend changes to strengthen the law and administrative rules. Listening to this conversation will be nurses who serve on ONA’s Board of Directors, Cabinets on Education, Health Policy, Practice, Human Rights, and Economic and General Welfare. The day will be filled with interaction, dialogue and recommendations. The work of ONA members on this day will become an agenda for change to Oregon’s Nurse Staffing Law that will be reviewed in September and October across the state in focus groups to ensure that ONA members have an opportunity for input.

This work will form the basis of legislative and/or rule-based changes to be put forward in upcoming legislative sessions. Additionally, efforts will begin to educate legislators on the House and Senate side regarding the existing law and the need for change.

For further information on this work, check out the ONA website www.OregonRN.org for updates on the date and place of the meeting, and information about members of the direct care and structural units of ONA (Cabinets). Meeting notices will be going out to ONA members in the direct care group and Cabinets will be selecting their representatives in the next two weeks. 

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Oregon Nurses Association
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(503) 293-0011 or 800-634-3552 (Oregon Only) E-mail:ONA@OregonRN.org