Battle brews in Minn. over hospital nurse staffing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota nurses are forging ahead with a call for state lawmakers to enact standards that dictate how hospitals staff their units.

The Minnesota Nurses Association planned Wednesday to outline its legislative proposal. The nurses union, which staged a brief strike at some Minnesota hospitals in 2010, has been making a case for mandatory staffing ratios based on the number of patients and type of unit.

Their proposal would establish a system of record keeping for hospitals and potential punishments for those that fall short of the standards.

With Democrats fully in charge of the Minnesota Capitol, the staffing proposal has a strong shot.

But hospitals have been bracing for a resistance effort. The Minnesota Hospital Association argues that medical staffing decisions are best dealt with by professionals not lawmakers.

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