Senator Boxer: Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act   

Monday, October 1, 2007  

Many times in our lives, we will depend upon nurses for care and medical assistance.  All of us would like to think that the nurses we look to is alert, well rested and able to care for our needs.  Currently, that is not always the case.  Because nurses can be mandated to work long hours of overtime, they sometimes are not able to function at their top abilities.

The Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act, S.1842, aims to correct this dangerous situation.  Introduced by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), this bill would provide for better patient protection by limiting the number of mandatory overtime hours a nurse may be required to work.

Many communities today have a shortage of nurses.  In response, many hospitals require nurses to work long shifts.  These long shifts can lead to more nurses leaving the profession and a decline in patient care.  In fact, a recent study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that increasing nurses’ shifts from about 8 hours to about 12 hours increased the likelihood of medical errors by three times.

The Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act seeks to restrict mandatory overtime for nurses, thus improving both working conditions for nurses and care for patients.  Federal law already limits work hours for pilots, flight attendants, truck drivers, railroad engineers and other professionals. It is sensible that we do the same for nurses, who so often hold our health and well being in their hands.  You can count on me to work for the passage of this bill.


Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer