The Massachusetts chapter of the American Nurses Association (ANA), a professional organization representing registered nurses, has joined a coalition opposing a ballot question to mandate nurse staffing ratios in Bay State hospitals, according to a statement Tuesday.
The Coalition to Protect Patient Safety opposes the ballot measure, saying it will remove the ability of hospitals to determine staffing needs based on current factors, such as patient acuity.
Diane Hanley, president of the ANA Massachusetts Board of Directors, said in the statement the proposal "undermines the flexibility and decision-making authority of nurses and puts rigid mandates above patient safety, clinical nurse input, nurse manager's discretion, and every other consideration in a hospital."
The MNA, the state's nurse union, has advocated for staffing ratios for years, and the current ballot measure is the second attempt to put the question in voters. The MNA filed a similar petition in 2013, but reached a deal with lawmakers, who enacted nurse-to-patient ratios in intensive care units in 2014. The question appears headed for the ballot in the November elections.