LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Nurses and lawmakers are hoping a three-bill package will move forward in the Michigan Legislature soon.

If passed, the Safe Care Patient Act would set nurse to patient rations, demand staffing transparency from hospitals and end mandatory nurse overtime.

The bills were reintroduced to the Michigan House of Representatives on April 27. They originally debuted in the Legislature back in 2017 and made a reappearance to the Legislature in 2021, but the package has never made it to a full floor vote.

Michigan has been struggling in recent years to combat a shortage of nurses, as well as poor work retention.

State Sen. Sylvia Santana said that nurses are the health care workers that are providing the most “direct care.”

“We want to make sure that no matter which hospital you go to throughout Michigan that there is a safe standard being followed,” she said.

According to a study from the University of Michigan, nearly 40% of current nurses said they plan to leave their career in the next year.

The study surveyed more than 9,000 state-licensed nurses:

  • 84% say they are emotionally exhausted
  • 43% report emotional abuse
  • 22% say they’ve been physically abused
  • 10% cite sexual abuse

“You shouldn’t have to worry whether or not you’re going to have enough health care staff, nurses in particular to care for you,” Jeff Breslin with the Michigan Nurses Association said.

Breslin said the main cause of discontent among nurses is the nurse-to-patient ratio. He said nursing has emotional highs that are great, but the lows are devastating.

“I have talked to a lot of my colleagues that have been physically or verbally assaulted on a semi-regular basis,” Breslin added.

Researchers also found that more than half of young nurses under the age of 25 say they may decide to quit.

Experts determined that the issues were around pre-COVID-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated problems.