Fighting for Nurses

Senator Sanders strongly believes we need additional nurses in this country to ensure not only better working conditions for all nurses, but also to ensure the safety of patients. Bernie is a proud co-sponsor of the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (S. 864) which would impose mandatory limits on the number of patients each Registered Nurse cares for in the hospital. As numerous studies have shown, these mandated standards for nurse-to-patient ratios would save lives and improve the quality of care for hospital patients. Bernie is also committed to ensuring appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs so that we achieve optimal care for our veterans.

Bernie has also been a longtime supporter of boosting funding for nursing workforce programs to increase the number of Registered Nurses and Advance Practice Registered Nurses, as well as the nurse faculty who educate them. Bernie agrees with the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that “Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care providers, in redesigning health care in the United States.” Bernie also believes that nurses must be a leading voice in the conversation within each hospital about safe nurse staffing levels.

During his time in the US Senate, Bernie has consistently advocated for more funding for Nursing Workforce Development Programs. Last year, Bernie chaired a hearing on patient safety and invited a nursing workforce expert to testify on the importance of adequate nurse staffing for patient safety. Bernie agrees with her that it is shortsighted for any hospital to think they will ultimately save money with fewer nurses on the job.