Safe nurse staffing

Ensuring safe nurse staffing is a top priority for WSNA. #

We know, and research confirms, that inadequate nurse staffing leads to medical errors, poorer patient outcomes, nurse burnout and injuries to nurses. Our approach to improving nurse staffing is multifaceted, encompassing legislation and policy, staffing committee tools, education and the latest research.

Current initiatives #

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In 2021, WSNA joined health care unions SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21 to form WA Safe + Healthy, a coalition calling on Washington state legislators to pass safe staffing standards for the health and safety of workers and patients.

Legislation and policy #

We work with the Washington State Legislature, regulatory agencies and the Governor’s Office to advance stronger laws and policies on safe nurse staffing.

We're currently working on:

During the 2022 Regular Session, which runs Jan. 10 to March 10, our allies in Olympia introduced bipartisan safe staffing legislation in the House (HB 1868) and Senate (SB 5751) that would protect health care workers, improve care for patients and begin to address the staffing crisis.

As we watch these two bills progress in their chambers, legislators need to hear from you about what nurses need to stay on the job. Contact your state lawmakers to show your support.

Past achievements include:

The 2017 Staffing Transparency and Accountability Act, which amends the 2008 staffing law to hold hospitals accountable for nurse staffing plans the work of the staffing committee.

Research #

Research consistently confirms that safe nurse staffing is critical to quality of care and patient safety.

We’ve compiled the most significant research supporting safe staffing that you can use to make the case for safe staffing in your hospital and with policymakers.

Explore research

Resources #

Staffing committees only work well when nurses get involved and understand their role and responsibilities.

Get information and work samples to help registered nurses serving on staffing committees.

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The Senate failed us, but we’re not done

The Senate Ways and Means Committee did not pass our safe staffing bill out of committee by the deadline, meaning HB 1868 is very unlikely to pass this legislative cycle. We are deeply disappointed, but this is a delay, not defeat.

Taking on the nurse staffing crisis

The public is becoming increasingly aware of a problem nurses have known about for a long time: the nurse staffing crisis that is dangerously depleting our hospitals. The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and accentuated this crisis.

WSNA staff contacts