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Lawmakers call for nurse protections amid 'patient care crisis'

A man sitting in a folding chair with his dog outside Windham Community Memorial Hospital holding a sign that reads "Nurses Matter" in support of the Windham Hospital Nurses Strike.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Steve Johnson, former president of the Windham Community Memorial Hospital United Employees, AFT Local 5099, supported union workers pushing for pay raises and elimination of mandatory overtime during a 48-hour unfair labor practice strike outside of Windham Community Memorial Hospital in Willimantic, Connecticut on September 23, 2022.

State Sen. Dr. Saud Anwar, co-chair of the Public Health Committee, joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Monday to announce legislation that would "address unsafe staffing" by establishing "safe patient limits," or nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, among other protections.

This hour, we discuss the proposal with Sen. Anwar, as well as the "patient care crisis" in Connecticut and renewed efforts to address it. AFT, a union representing many healthcare workers in our state, recently released the Healthcare Staffing Shortage Task Force Report, finding that the "corporatization of healthcare with profit motives has created systematic underinvestment in healthcare workers’ safety and wellbeing."

Paul Banach has been working with CT Nurses United, a grassroots group of non-union nurses that recently formed to push for change. Through an Instagram account, the group relays mostly-anonymous testimonials from nurses and health care workers where we live.

CT Nurses United held a rally at the Capitol at the start of legislative session. Banach joins us to discuss.

Plus, we'll hear recommendations from the National Nurse Staffing Think Tank with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and from the Windham Federation of Professional Nurses, AFT Local 5041, after they negotiated a ban on mandatory overtime.

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine Shen is a Connecticut Public’s education reporter. The Los Angeles native comes to CT Public after a decade of print and digital reporting across the country.
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