FREE SPEECH ZONE | Minnesota Nurses Strike Advances Debate on Hospital Safety, Quality Fundamental Health Care System Change Needed

    Summary The Minnesota nurses strike of 2010 demanded primarily  greater nurse:patient ratios to cost-effectively improve patient safety and quality  of care in hospitals. The hospitals maintained that they  cannot afford fixed staffing levels and that nurses are paid adequately.  This article substantiates the nurses’ case with objective data: That Twin City hospitals are large, corporate chains,exhibiting monopolistic behavior, very profitable, with large amounts of assets and cash, and their “non-profit”  tax-exemptions do not justify the minimal amount of uncompensated care they are required to provide. The hospitals can afford greater nurse:patient ratios which available data show can improve safety and patient outcomes. The nursing shortage is caused more by excess capacity (too many hospitals, duplication of technology) than by  a shortage in the supply of nurses. Excess insurance administration squeezes operating (day-to-day care) budgets. Continue Reading