Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on New Research Linking Nurses’ Workloads to Patient Safety

For Release: 

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Scott Stephens

WASHINGTON— Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the latest findings from a three-year nursing workforce study conducted by RN4CAST, a consortium of investigators from 12 European countries. Recent findings from the study were published in The Lancet.

"This study, one of the largest to date, confirms what a mountain of research has told us for more than 20 years—that people die every day because there aren't enough nurses to care for them safely. Safe nurse staffing levels help reduce medical errors, hospital infections and patient falls—all things that cost us lives. It's unconscionable that more hasn't been done to prevent this tragic and preventable loss of life. And in many hospitals, funding cuts and the resulting layoffs of nurses have only made the crisis worse.

"One preventable death in a hospital is one too many. That's why our affiliates, including the Washington State Nurses Association and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees in New Jersey, are pushing for safe staffing legislation in their respective states. Congress and the Council of the District of Columbia also are considering legislation to ensure safe staffing. We need to act immediately on these and other measures to ensure that all patients receive the high-quality, lifesaving care they deserve."


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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.