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Resolutions & Amendments

38th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (2008)

Hospital Staffing

Resolution No. 42
38th International Convention
Moscone West
July 28 - August 1, 2008
San Francisco, CA

The importance of hospital staffing is crucial to the health and welfare of both personnel and patients; and

This country is experiencing a shortage of health care workers across all settings.  This shortage is the result of multiple factors, including an aging workforce, poor working conditions, and alternative job opportunities for women; and

High workload and poor staffing are associated with burnout, job dissatisfaction, and increased stress; and

A study published in the journal Health Affairs (May/June 2007) reported that nurses feel their ability to provide quality care is affected by inadequate staffing.  Nurses reported that nursing shortages in their hospital delayed nurse responses to pages or calls (82%), increased patients’ complaints about nursing care (84%), has been a problem for quality of patient care (78%), and interferes with the ability to maintain patient safety (69%); and

Working more hours per day, working more weekends per month and working at least one 13-hour day each week increases the risk of needlestick injuries, according to a study funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  Hours worked and risk had a continuous relationship.  For every additional hour worked, the risk of a needlestick rose 10 percent; and

Although the shortage of nurses is well-documented, an ancillary personnel staffing crisis also exists.  Cuts in staff have resulted in fewer housekeepers having less time to clean, and sanitize patient care areas; and

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in 2007 that nearly 19,000 people died from methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), mostly traceable to hospitals, nursing homes or medical clinics; and

Some states have adopted rules requiring health care facilities to establish nurse staffing plans and the state of California has enacted a law that mandates nurse-to-patient ratios.  No state has legislated staffing requirements for non-nursing health care workers.

That AFSCME and its affiliates work to increase staffing for all hospital job classifications so that AFSCME members can deliver quality health care without risk of endangering themselves or their patients.
SUBMITTED BY: Pamela O’Bryan, Delegate
AFSCME Local 2568, Council 25

Health Care Committee