Deal on nurse staffing?

Hospital officials and the Minnesota Nurses Association are nearing an agreement to study and publish details about nurse staffing. The agreement would be an alternative to a bill moving in the Legislature that requires hospitals to keep a minimum number of nurses working at all times.

The agreement being discussed would require hospitals to create typical staffing levels for units and list them online. It also calls on the Minnesota Department of Health to study the relationship between staffing at hospitals and patient outcomes.

Rep. Tina Liebling DFL-Rochester says she’s pleased the hospitals and the union are finding common ground on a divisive issue.

“This is in no way to be considered a final resolution of the issues that are before us in this bill,” Liebling said. “But we’re going in the right direction.”

The bill still has a ways to go, and the Senate has yet to start its consideration of the nursing proposal. But the issue rose to the level where House Speaker Paul Thissen personally worked to broker a compromise.

Gov. Dayton also urged the two sides to work out a deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report….