Nurses across state protest over staffing bill

Photo provided to the Times Observer Nurses from around the state held a “solemn funeral procession and memorial” on Saturday that ended at Rep. Kathy Rapp’s office on Market St. They called on Rapp to move on safe staffing legislation that Rapp has said will not get out of committee.

Nurses across the state continue to pressure Rep. Kathy Rapp to move forward with a staffing ratio bill.

On Saturday, that took the form of a “solemn funeral procession and memorial” that have died due to unsafe staffing, according to organizers.

The Patient Safety Act is the legislation at the heart of the argument. Rapp, chair of the House Health Committee, has said the bill won’t leave her committee.

S“Rep. Rapp is choosing to stand with hospital lobbyists rather than nurses and patients by blocking this bill,” Eileen Kelly, a retired nurse from Warren who helped organize the memorial, said.

“We need immediate action on this bill. It will make our hospitals safer for patients. It will prevent moral injury to nurses, and will bring more nurses back to the bedside.”

When asked about the bill last week, Rapp indicated that her position had not changed.

She said that the nursing groups have a right to hold the event but stressed that the legislation would result in the closure of rural hospitals.

She also indicated that she would not be at her office during the event.

According to a statement from Nurses of Pennsylvania, Rapp “promised nurses a committee hearing on safe staffing legislation” that has not yet been held.

They claim that over 1,000 lives could have been saved by this legislation in the last four years.

“Hospital executives created the nurse staffing crisis in the pursuit of higher profits and legislation to hold them accountable is needed to solve it.”

“Every day we work short staffed, patients are at risk, and we’re working short-staffed every single day,” Karen Hipple, an LPN from Titusville said. “We need Rep. Rapp and everyone else in the General Assembly to realize the dire consequences of their inaction.”


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