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The Massachusetts Nurses Association, supported the law while the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association were opposed to it.
While the election is over, all sides say discussions about patient safety and nurse staffing need to continue. Hickey, Ph D, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, vice president and associate chief nursing officer, cardiovascular and critical care patient services at Boston Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, is internationally known for her work in research and leadership development, care delivery innovation, patient safety, and bridging nursing practice and health policy.
But Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association, which fought implementation of the ratios with an unsuccessful court challenge, says they are tough for hospitals to enforce.
"The most onerous aspect to the ratios is the requirement that hospitals be in 'continuous compliance'—that means in compliance every minute of every shift on every unit every day," Emerson says.
"For example, a tool may have allocated 5 minutes to suction a patient. At Boston Children's Hospital, the CAMEO nursing acuity instrument was developed "as a contemporary tool to measure the cognitive workload and complexity of nursing work.At the time, there was speculation in the nursing community that other states would quickly follow suit, and mandatory ratios would spread across the country. In fact, this November, Massachusetts voters rejected a law that would establish mandatory staffing ratios in the state.