Ohio Nurses Association Announces Safe Staffing Standards Bill

The Nurse Workforce & Safe Patient Care Act first of its kind in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio – September 27, 2023 – The Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), the voice for more than 200,000 nurses in the state of Ohio, joined State Representative Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) and Representative Elgin Rogers (D-Toledo) today to introduce a first-of-its-kind bill that would establish legally enforceable minimum staffing standards for nurses in all Ohio hospitals and incentivize people to go into the nursing field.

The Workforce & Safe Patient Care Act includes:

  • Creating a $20M Loan-to-Grant program for nurses who complete 5 years of nursing services in the state of Ohio, either at the bedside or nurse education.
  • Establishing safe staffing standards in every Ohio hospital.
  • Preserving nurse staffing committees in every Ohio hospital and giving them meaningful representation in establishing safe staffing levels in their hospitals.
  • Allowing for temporary deviations from safe staffing ratios only in extraordinary circumstances in the interest of patient care.
  • Creating a reporting system for anyone, employee or public, to file a complaint against a hospital for inadequate staffing and provides whistleblower protections as well.

“The nurse staffing shortage in Ohio is endangering Ohioans seeking medical care and the nurses caring for them,” said Ohio Representative Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg). “Having enforceable safe staffing standards in our hospitals will provide better patient care and working conditions.”

“Ohio’s nurses and healthcare workers are tired and fed up with hospital administrators turning a blind eye to the unsafe staffing conditions and this bill is a step in the right direction,” said Robert Weitzel, RN, Ohio Nurses Association president. “We are in a patient care crisis, but this legislation will guarantee safety for patients and healthcare workers in Ohio’s hospitals.”

To support the bill, ONA is also sharing startling results of a statewide nursing survey that the ONA Council on Practice developed into a white paper.

  • 7 out of every 10 direct care nurses are considering leaving bedside nursing due to current conditions.
  • 79% of direct care nurses said nurse-to-patient radios in Ohio would increase their likelihood of remaining in a direct-care role.
  • 05% of nurses who have already left direct care nursing jobs cited patient care load as a factor.
  • 80% of nurses would consider returning to or pursing beside nursing if enforceable minimum staffing standards were passed.

“We want to make sure that patients and nurses in Ohio’s hospitals are safe,” said Ohio Rep. Elgin Rogers, Jr. (D-Toledo). “Inadequate nurse staffing levels are linked to higher rates of patient falls, infections, medication errors and even death. The bill we introduced today is a big step in the right direction to help address patient and nurse safety.”

“I and the rest of ONA are proud to be part of this historic legislation,” said Rick Lucas, RN, president of Ohio State Nurses Organization. “This bill is part of our fight to ensure protection of patients and nurses in the hospitals.”

Contact: Michelle Day
Director of Communications & Technology