To the editor:

I am a registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience, and I oppose the proposed nurse staffing ballot question.

In my work for the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, I manage PatientCareLink, an online portal providing important healthcare information to the public, including nurse staffing levels at hospitals across the state. Massachusetts hospitals were first in the nation to voluntarily share staffing and quality measures.

Massachusetts is often compared to California, the only state that has across-the-board nurse staffing mandates. Although California’s nurse ratios were put in place 14 years ago, Massachusetts outranks California in most measures for patient satisfaction, patient safety, hospital-acquired infections and ER wait times.

These are the facts: ratios have not worked in California, and they won’t work here.

Nurses are crucial to Massachusetts’ efforts to keep people healthy and reduce healthcare disparities in our communities. Unfortunately, mandated staffing would drain nurses from community care to fill at-all-times hospital requirements.

I have practiced as a staff nurse, shift supervisor, nurse manager, clinical director and community health nurse, so I know what goes into delivering the best care. It is not a rigid, at-all-times formula.

No mandated formula should ever override our life-saving judgment.

PATRICIA M. NOGA
Marshfield

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