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The mission of the Alaska Nurses Association is to advance and support the profession of nursing in Alaska. We are a voice for and represent over 7,000 nurses across the entire state of Alaska.
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The bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration.  One more step to go before Registered Nurses of Alaska proudly join with 15 other States in taking steps to protect patient safety through law or regulation to restrict the use of mandatory overtime for nurses.

This speaks for itself after 6 years. - Next stop is consideration by Governor Parnell.

We would like to thank our Senate and House legislative sponsors, Senator Bettye Davis (District K, Anchorage) and Representative Peggy Wilson, RN (Wrangell).  Senator Davis and Representative Wilson have tirelessly advocated for the citizens in Alaska who may become patients of the health care system at any given moment. This bill is about patient safety! The bill limits RN’s & LPN’s duty time to 14 hours with 10 hours of rest. (Some specific exceptions are allowed in the bill.)  A special thanks goes to Representative Bill Stoltze (Chugiak) who was a co-sponsor and played a big role in getting the bill passed.

Fifteen states have restrictions on the use of mandatory overtime for nurses: thirteen states have enacted restrictions in law: CT, IL, MD, MN, NJ, NH, NY, OR, PA, RI, TX, WA, and WV, while two states have provisions in regulations: CA and MO.

The Alaska Nurses Association leadership and members have worked with the legislature for 6 years to educate Senators and Representatives on the need to limit the number of hours a nurse is responsible for a patient’s care. Evidence has shown that the incidence of medication errors goes up dramatically after 12 hours of work. The errors that can not be followed are the errors of omission. According to studies, after 12-14 hours of work, mental acuity and alertness are equivalent to a 0.08 blood alcohol level.  At this level, reasoning is impaired. Couple that with difficulty taking breaks and lunch during a shift, and the risk increases of nurses who may not be astute to slight changes in a patient’s condition that require immediate interventions, resulting in a longer hospital stay.

We would like to applaud all of the legislators who co-sponsored the legislation: REPRESENTATIVE(s) P.WILSON, GARA, TUCK, PETERSEN, LYNN, SEATON, GATTO, CISSNA, MUNOZ, GARDNER, Ramras, R.Foster, Kerttula, Gruenberg, Crawford, Stoltze, T.Wilson, N.Foster, Holmes, Kawasaki, & Guttenberg and cross-sponsored SENATOR(s) Thomas, Ellis, Davis, Kookesh, French, Wagoner, Paskvan, Wielechowski, & Egan. This was despite tremendous pressures from the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNA) that the reporting mechanism would be quite onerous to the hospitals affected by this legislation in Alaska.

Debbie Thompson, RN, BSN, CNOR, Nancy Davis, MSN, RN (President AaNA),
Senator Bettye Davis and Mary Stackhouse, RN (Vice Chair AaNA Labor Council) visit while waiting for a final Senate Floor vote on HB 50

Please make sure to thank your Senator and Representative for sponsoring and/or voting for this legislation. You can find this information at http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/hs_bill_action.asp?session=26
then search for HB 50. If they did not vote for this legislation, just take a moment to educate them on the critical nature of the work that you do for the citizens of Alaska.

Finally, a special thanks to the AaNA Lobbyists Caren Robinson and Mark Hickey for the hours, weeks, months and years they have spent speaking with legislators and their staff on behalf of this very important patient safety legislation.

If you're not familiar with House Bill 50 or Senate Bill 12, check out:

Alaska Nurses Association  •  3701 E Tudor Road, Suite 208,  Anchorage AK 99507  •  Phone: 907-274-0827 Fax: 907-272-0292  •  Contact Us