Pandemic Adds Fuel to Debate Over How Many Patients Nurses Should Care for Each Shift

Crain’s New York

Pat Kane, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, has seen the pandemic intensify the decades-long fight over adequate nurse staffing.

Before Covid-19 struck, the Midtown South–based union of more than 42,000 frontline nurses made safe-staffing ratios a top priority for its members, who work in major hospitals and other health care settings across the state. The ratios regulate the number of patients that may be assigned to a single nurse…

…The department noted that in 2016, the Center for Health Workforce Studies, an academic research center based at the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, projected that if RN graduation and retirement trends remain the same, the supply of nurses would grow by 5% to 9% between 2015 and 2025, largely keeping pace with demand.

However, the department also acknowledged that other projections, such as those published more recently in the American Journal of Medical Quality, indicated a shortage of more than 39,000 registered nurses in New York by 2030.

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