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Elms to Host Panel Discussion on Nurse-staffing Ballot Question

CHICOPEE — The School of Nursing at Elms College, in partnership with Baystate Medical Center Nursing, will host a discussion about the upcoming Massachusetts ballot question regarding nurse-staffing ratios on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Elms College’s Veritas Auditorium. 

Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies, CEO of the Organization of Nurse Leaders in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont, will introduce the issues surrounding Question 1, and then a panel of practicing nurses will speak and take audience questions. Baystate nurses Karissa Gorman, Brittany Foley, and Tara Budriewicz will appear on the panel.

The Elms College School of Nursing has joined with Massachusetts nurses, hospitals, and prominent healthcare organizations in opposing Question 1, which which would institute government-mandated nurse staffing levels at all hospitals statewide.

“On the surface, it might appear that using legislation to set registered-nurse-to-patient ratios would benefit patients, nurses, and hospitals, but that is not the case,” said Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing at Elms College. “If approved, the law would require every hospital to adopt rigid registered-nurse-to-patient ratios at all times — without consideration of a hospital’s size or location, and regardless of individual patients’ specific care needs.

“If this legislation is enacted, the impact will be devastating to hospitals, to the quality and safety of patient care, and to the much-respected role of the professional nurses we have been educating for decades,” she added. “Thus, we believe it to be critically important to provide our community and the public at large an opportunity to truly learn about Question 1.”

This event will allow the public to hear directly from nurses and healthcare experts about the issues surrounding Question 1 and how it would affect the day-to-day practice of nursing in Massachusetts, as well as the long-term effects of such legislation on patient care and the nursing profession as a whole.

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