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Nurses rally on Capitol for Safe Patient Care Act

State capitol
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The legislature will vote on changes to health care benefits for public employees tomorrow.

Hundreds of nurses marched from the Lansing Center to the state Capitol Wednesday. They want to urge the legislature to introduce a Safe Patient Care Act.

Nurses from around the state chanted, “What do we want? Safe staffing! When do we want it? Now!” on the steps of the Capitol.

Sarah Hodges is in nursing school and works as a nursing assistant. She says nurses love their patients and want to be able to give them the care they need.

“With nurses having so many patients it’s putting the patients at risk because we don’t have the time, the resources to take proper care of them and it’s actually putting them at risk,” she said.

The nurses advocated for a Patient Safety Act that would limit mandatory overtime, limit the number of patients a nurse can be assigned, and increase reporting requirements of the nurse to patient ratio. 

Similar efforts have failed in the past.

Donna Heinrich from Traverse City has been a nurse for about 34 years. She says worn out nurses can make mistakes.

“We’re losing so many nurses in our profession because they’re getting burn out and they’re emotionally disconnected,” she said. “They’re exhausted from taking care of too many patients.”

Democrats Senator Rebekah Warren and Representative Jon Hoadley are currently in the final stages of putting together a Safe Patient Care Act. Warren says they hope to introduce the legislation before the end of the month.


Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R