What is Question 1 on the Massachusetts Ballot?

Everyone is talking about the importance of voting in the upcoming election, but not how the questions effect you. One of the most confusing questions for young people is Question 1 regarding nursing laws. If you’re not a nurse how does this effect you? In this article, we are going to be looking at both sides of this question and hopefully helping you to come to YOUR OWN conclusion on what to say on Question 1.

For the full details of Question 1 as stated on the ballot check out: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ele18/ballot_questions_18/ballot_questions18.htm

According to the link above, “A YES VOTE would limit the number of patients that could be assigned to one registered nurse in hospitals and certain other health care facilities.” The argument from the “Yes” side is that hospitals are under-staffed when it comes to the nurse-to-patient ratio. Not only is this seen as a danger to nurses, for being overworked, but it is also argued to be a danger to patients. Nurses feel that they cannot give patients the individual attention they need because they have too many patients to attend too. Additionally, nurses don’t currently have a say in staffing; however, they have the most knowledge on what the environment needs because they experience it every day. This law is made by Nurses for Nurses.

Benefits of this law being passed would be a decrease in the waiting time in emergency rooms. Anyone who has spent time in the ER can attest to the fact that it has probably been a long wait. Another benefit for nursing students would be more available jobs. For years, nursing has been a favorable career path amongst college students due to “job-stability”; however, the programs have become more competitive due to the saturation in the nursing field. Many nurses are graduating and not ending up in the desired concentration or even at a hospital at all. Saying “YES” on Question 1 would help to guarantee jobs for nurses graduating college. Finally, this law would benefit safety within hospitals because nurses would be able to focus more on their patients and make sure they are getting the care that you need.

On the other hand, “A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to patient-to-nurse limits,” according to the ballot questions of the State of Massachusetts. The argument for the “NO” side is that this law is “case-specific” and would only benefit certain, particularly smaller, hospitals that are understaffed. Cons of the law are that circumstances aren’t considered, meaning there is little flexibility in the law. Many people against the law are the hospital administration, because it is spending more money the hospitals don’t necessarily have. They internet has many faulty numbers regarding the financing of this law. Pictured below is the description of campaigning finance for Question 1.

 Source: https://ballotpedia.org/Massachusetts_Question_1,_Nurse-Patient_Assignment_Limits_Initiative_(2018)

There has been a lot of debate on the actual cost of implementing Question 1 law into action. However, the most recent and accurate study according to HCP states “Massachusetts would see an estimated annual cost impact of $676 million to $949 million.” This is pricier and would require hiring many nurses. “NO” advocators argue that smaller hospitals will close if this law is passed. Another con, according to the opposing side of this law, is the time frame. The only other state that has implemented this law is California. It was passed in 1999 and wasn’t put to action until 2004. The Massachusetts Law would be implemented on January 1st, 2019. Administration argues this is too small of a time frame to implement such a law.

Now having been presented information from both sides, where can we go from here? The decision you make on election day should be your decision. Often young people don’t know the difference between voting yes or voting no on certain questions and how it affects them. Many young people don’t see the benefit of their vote, and that is where you are wrong. The most important thing you can do on election day is vote. Read the information given about both sides and determine how can this law effect you. Are you a nursing student? Are you a potential patient? Are you a potential manager of administrator of a hospital? Your vote represents your voice.

To conclude, saying “YES” on Question 1 would implement a law that limits the number of patients to nurses, and the goal is to protect both parties and ensure safety. Voting “NO” on Question 1 would not pass the law and prevent hospitals from being forced to abide by certain ratios. Overall, whatever you decide on election day make sure your vote is speaking to your beliefs. For more unbiased sources for information check the link below. We love a politically aware girl, don’t forget to vote!

The best website to become politically aware with minimal bias and views from all sides: https://www.allsides.com/allsides-search-results