Sample Letter to the Legislator
April 23, 2018
The Honorable Richard Burr
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Burr,
My Name is John Doe, I am a Registered Nurse in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I am writing in regard to the Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017 [S.1063], that is pending approval by the Senate of the United States of America. “Establishing safe staffing standards for direct care registered nurses is a critical component of assuring that there is adequate hospital staffing at all levels to improve the delivery of quality care and protect patient safety” (U.S. Senate, 2017).
Establishing safe staffing standards is important because, in the United States, approximately 250,000 deaths per year are related to medical errors (John Hopkins, 2016, para. 1). According to this number it makes medical errors the third highest cause of death in the United States “Most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability” (John Hopkins, 2016, par.10). Mandated nurse-patient ratios can help decrease deaths due to medical errors. A study by Eunhee, et al. (2015) found, “Risk-adjusted models reveal that nurse staffing, nurse work environments, and nurse education were significantly associated with patient mortality. These odds ratios imply that each additional patient per nurse is associated with an 5% increase in the odds of patient death within 30 days of admission, that the odds of patient mortality are nearly 50% lower in the hospitals with better nurse work environments than in hospitals with mixed or poor nurse work environments” (p. 535). Another study by West, et al. (2014) found “a statistically significant interaction between the number of nurses and patient’s risk of mortality, suggesting that nursing staff availability has the greatest impact on those at greatest risk of death”.
As a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions you have the opportunity to help with this issue. I ask that you support the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017 [S.1063]. In supporting this bill, it will guarantee the improvement of quality of care and protect patient safety. It will guarantee the decrease of medical errors as well as decrease the rate of patient mortality.
Thank you for your time and efforts to protect and serve North Carolina!
John Doe, RN
2055 Country Club Rd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27005
Eunhee, C., Sloane, D. M., Eun-Young, K., Sera, K., Miyoung, C., Il Young, Y., & … Aiken, L. H. (2015). Effects of nurse staffing, work environments, and education on patient mortality: An observational study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(2), 535-542. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.08.006
Johns Hopkins. (2016, May 3). Study suggests medical errors now third leading cause of death in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us
U.S. Senate. 115th Congress, 1st Session. S. 1063, Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017. Edition statement. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2017.
West, E., Barron, D. N., Harrison, D., Rafferty, A. M., Rowan, K., & Sanderson, C. (2014). Nurse staffing, medical staffing and mortality in intensive care: An observational study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(5), 781-794. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.02.007