Nurses march on Capitol Hill, call for staff ratio laws, more health reform

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Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Roughly 1,000 nurses have gathered in Washington D.C. this week to advocate for legislation that would help address the nursing shortage and provide safer patient care, according to reports from the capital.

The nurses, all members of the recently formed National Nurses Union, are hoping to convince lawmakers to support a national nurse-to-patient ratio law being proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). The bill is modeled after California's nurse-to-patient ratio law. Proponents say an increased nurse presence in healthcare facilities will help save lives. The nurses are also calling for a more comprehensive healthcare reform bill that includes a single-payer system, according to The Hill newspaper.

Scheduled to speak at an event today are Schakowsky and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, as well as other labor leaders and legislators. The nurses will then march to the Hill to meet with members of Congress to discuss their proposals.