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Senator Jane Nelson: District 12
Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2009
Contact: Dave Nelson
512-463-0112
SENATE APPROVES IMPROVEMENTS TO NURSING WORK ENVIRONMENT

AUSTIN — LThe Texas Senate today approved SB 476 by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, seeking to reduce nursing vacancies in our hospitals and improve the work environment for Texas nurses. The bill now moves to the House for further consideration.

"We need to retain our best and brightest bedside nurses, who are unfortunately turning over at an annual turnover rate of 18 percent, due in part to mandatory overtime policies and stressful working conditions," Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said. "Most importantly, we need to foster an environment in which our nurses can provide the best possible care to hospital patients."

SB 476 follows extensive discussions among nurses, hospitals and patient advocates and is backed by both the Texas Nurses Association and Texas Hospital Association. The bill puts into law a 2002 agency rule requiring each Texas hospital to establish a nursing staffing committee, redefines its structure and gives nurses a stronger voice in staffing decisions.

Specifically, SB 476:

  • Requires that patient care nurses comprise at least 60 percent of the committee's membership;
  • Ensures that the committee reports directly to the hospital board;
  • Requires that the committee develop staffing plans and report them annually to the Department of State Health Services; and
  • Prohibits mandatory overtime policies.

The Texas Legislature meets through June 2. To track the progress of bills online, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.

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