I am a student intern in the ER at OSF St. Joseph hospital and I regularly see issues such as under-staffing. The administration doesn't want to spend the necessary money to staff their hospitals properly. Many states (including Illinois) have passed similar laws to mandatory nurse-patient ratio but, only California has implemented it.

Illinois has no patient-to-nurse ratio law in place, but has the Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity Act of 2007. This requires hospitals to form committees made of at least 50 percent direct-care nurses, to make staffing plans based on the needs of each unit. This seems like a flawless plan but, director of the Registered Nurses Response Network at National Nurses United (NNU), Bonnie Castillo says, “If you have several patients, and one is having a sudden hemorrhage and one is having chest pains and the other is having stroke or is choking, you have to have enough nurses that can deal with each of those instances and not place one above the other."

Change is not happening because nurses are the only people defending the patient. This community has a right to quality healthcare and the responsibility to defend it. The nurses can’t provide that if they don't have the resources. Bloomington-Normal will not see improvement in our hospitals if we aren't willing to advocate for the professional taking care of us. 

Savannah Karch, Bloomington

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