NJ State Nurses Assoc.President on Pros and Cons of New Bill
Dr. Benjamin Evans, President of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, and Steve Adubato discuss the bill that the New Jersey Legislature recently introduced regarding staffing ratio, joint protocol, access to care and the concern of nursing shortages.
"Welcome folks. I'm Steve Adubato. Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about nursing, the gentlemen right here knows it. He is Dr. Benjamin Evans, President of the New Jersey Nurses Association. Good to see you Ben. Good to see you Steve. Thanks for inviting me. We've had a whole range of conversations about nursing. I've done the work seminars, and we've had legislative forums. Right. With you and your colleagues, but the issue that keeps coming up right now in the Statehouse is staffing ratios. First of all, what does it mean and why does it matter to the people we care most about? The patients? Well we want to ensure that patients get quality care and there are two schools of thoughts on staffing. There is a school that says you have so many patients per each nurse, and the other one is you take a look at the acuity of the patient's needs, how sick they are, what are their levels of care? And the mix of the nursing experience. So if you had a ratio number, you could have one brand new nurse with four to five patients and that meets what you need, however if three of those patients have very heavy needs, that new nurse may be a bit overwhelmed, so if you look at the acuity model, you may have a nurse who has an assistant who is a seasoned nurse on that unit taking care of other patients, but between the new nurse and the seasoned nurse, they would be able to meet the needs of the patients a little bit better. Ben what I'm curious about is, to what degree do you think the average person watching right now, a better educated person, particularly a public television audience, understands that there are different types of nurses with different degrees of experience, education, et cetera? Yes, nursing is one of those multi-entry professions. I mean, you have your doctorate? I do. In the field of...? ...of nursing. Right. My doctorate is of Nursing Practice. Right. The registered nurse can start at the associate degree level, which is a two-year... RN? RN, and sit for the same exam. Associate degree? Two years? Two years, then there is the bachelor's degree, four years there is a second degree entry program which someone with a bachelor's degree in another discipline can come in and in about 18 months complete the core nursing courses, and sit for the examination. Beyond that then are the graduate and doctoral degrees that prepare folks to be educators, administrators, leaders. You know, the whole question of the, quote unquote, "nursing shortage" it... what is it? Is it what..."