Local Nurses Continue to Push for Regulation of Nurse to Patient Ratio

| August 9, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Local nurses are continuing to move forward as part of a statewide movement to create a minimum nurse to patient ratio at hospitals and care facilities.

(Pictured, left to right: Nurses of Pennsylvania members Kimberly Aldrich, Shelbie Stromyer, Eileen Kelly, and Tina Siegel)

Nurses of Pennsylvania, a grassroots, non-profit organization of nurses focused on improving the care nurses provide, has been focused on encouraging new state legislation to regulate nurse to patient ratios in hospitals and care facilities.

To that end, the organization recently placed two billboards along State Route 8, outside of Centerville, to raise awareness for their cause.

“They stand out,” Shelbie Stromyer, a Venango County resident, RN, and advocate for Nurses of Pennsylvania, told exploreVenango.com.

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According to Stromyer, when they went to take photos at the newly placed billboard, people driving by were honking and waiving and showing support.

“People realize we need to do something about what’s going on in healthcare,” she noted.

Stromyer said support from the public has been generally strong since their movement began.

“We have not gotten anything negative from the public at all.”

Nurses of Pennsylvania was officially founded in 2017 by “a few nurses who had enough,” according to Stromyer.

The primary issue is a problem with the staffing of nurses in facilities across the state and the number of patients or residents each nurse is expected to be responsible for, which has been on the rise.

“We’ve been able to find the research that shows that nurses are getting hurt and disabled and walking out. Nurses are saying they’re tired of being punching bags. They’re tired of trying to fight policies that just don’t work,” Stromyer said.

According to Stromyer, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), a union that represents nurses at Warren General Hospital, and Service Employees International Union, which represents employees at Polk Center, have also stepped forward to support the same legislative goals as Nurses of Pennsylvania, while Nurses of DC has begun a larger movement for nationwide legislation.

“We have more voices joining in,” she explained.

Stromyer said Pennsylvania Rep. R. Lee James has also come forward in support of their cause and is now working with the Nurses of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg in an attempt to move legislation forward, but they still need more support.

Representatives of Nurses of Pennsylvania have met with both Representative Kathy Rapp and Senator Michelle Brooks, who respectively serve as the chairs of the House and Senate health committees, but they haven’t been able to set up a formal hearing on the issue or get any official commitment of support.

The billboards are part of raising awareness in the congresswomen’s areas in hopes of pushing forward for a formal hearing.

Representatives of the organization will be at the Warren County Fair this weekend (Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10) raising awareness. They will also be holding a town hall event at Edinboro University at 6:00 p.m. on September 4.

“Nurses and the public will be able to come and speak out about what’s going on,” Stromyer said.

The Nurses of Pennsylvania also have an online petition for legislation regulating patient limits available on their website.


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