LANSING — State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) was joined by his daughter Shelby, who is a registered nurse, at the House Regulatory Reform Committee yesterday. Ms. Kivela testified before the committee on the issue of nurse to patient ratios.

“I was proud to sit with my daughter, Shelby, as she testified before the Regulatory Reform Committee regarding this very important issue. Patient safety is always a top concern for hospitals as new treatment and care methods are studied by health care professionals and then adopted,” said Kivela. “The one thing that never changes, however, is the need for enough nurses to properly care for their patients. I’m glad the committee is willing to hear from nurses and health care professionals about how nurse to patient staffing level mandates have worked in other states.”

Shelby Kivela began her nursing career in Michigan, but then moved to Massachusetts and worked in a Boston hospital, where state law  mandates nurse-to-patient staffing levels. Michigan does not have a law that mandates certain nurse-to-patient ratios. Ms. Kivela has since returned to Michigan to work.

“The law in Massachusetts protected me so I could pay attention to unstable patients who might need me for two hours at a time,” Ms. Kivela told the committee. “Situations that happen in Michigan would not have happened in Boston. I would like to see Michigan enact a law that protects my patients like that.”

While it was not on the committee agenda, House Bill 5013, sponsored by Representative Jon Hoadley, addresses nurse to patient staffing levels.