With Election Day just around the corner, we’re continuing our election coverage by unpacking Question One, a ballot question that would place a limit on the number of patients a single nurse can be assigned at a time and impose a $25,000 fine on hospitals that violate those ratios.
The question asks: should there be a legal cap on the amount of patients assigned to one nurse? People on both sides of this issue say that if the ballot initiative passes, it could fundamentally change the state’s healthcare system.
As reported by WGBH, groups like The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association and several nurses groups oppose the initiative, saying the proposal would undermine the quality of patient care.
Meanwhile, groups like The Massachusetts Nurses Association, a union that represents about 20 percent of nurses in the state, say that mandating staffing levels would increase patient safety.
As the ballot question is much more nuanced than this brief summary, we spoke to two representatives from both sides, and took your calls and questions about the proposal.
YES ON ONE: Karen Coughlin, nurse and Vice President of the Massachusetts Nurse’s Association, and a supporter of Question One
NO ON ONE: Terri Hudson-Jinks, nurse and longtime Chief Nursing Officer at Tufts Medical Center, representing the opposition of Question One