Member's Press Release

Release Date: 02/24/2011
Contact: Delegate Barbara Hatfield (D-Kanawha), 304-340-3140

Delegate Barbara Hatfield

Subcommittee Advances Nurse-Patient Ratio Bill

CHARLESTON - House Health Vice Chair Barbara Hatfield said she is gratified that a House Judiciary subcommittee endorsed legislation intended to ensure a proper nurse-to-patient ratio in West Virginia hospitals.

“Understaffing of hospitals is a growing problem across the country,” said Delegate Hatfield, herself a nurse and lead sponsor of the bill. “Nurses are being forced to move among too many patients, and therefore can’t spend the adequate time treating and assessing their patients’ conditions.

“This bill states that hospitals will be adequately staffed to ensure the minimum nurse-patient ratio.”

Also in House Bill 3005 is the stipulation that unlicensed personnel are not to perform any duties of a Registered Nurse, duties that require clinical assessment, judgment and skill. Nurses provide health teaching and education, administer medications, and conduct physical, psychological and social assessments and interventions.

“I have been advocating for this legislation for several years, and I am very pleased that the subcommittee recognized the need to address the nurse ratio issue,” Delegate Hatfield said. “While I understand that because it is late in the legislative session, there may not be time to see this bill pass into law this year, I consider this vote a great step forward on behalf of our hardworking nurses.”

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