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Our Fight for Safe Staffing in New Jersey

Every single worker deserves to feel safe at their workplace and be able to provide the best possible care to their patients. Unfortunately, too many healthcare workers are suffering from understaffing— damaging patient care and leading to poor working conditions. We’re fighting for mandated staffing ratios so we can provide safe and high-quality patient care!

Across New Jersey, healthcare workers are forced to care for too many patients at once.

Understaffing poses serious risks to workers and our patients. 

  • When facilities fail to adequately staff up, it jeopardizes patient outcomes and leads to significant rates of burnout and stress, and even more workers leaving the profession.[1]
  • The odds of patient death increase by 7% for each additional patient a nurse must take on at one time. 
  • A 2022 national study found that 51% of surveyed nurses considered leaving the profession within the next year, citing short staffing and moral distress as the driving factors.[2]

New Jersey’s current healthcare staffing regulations fail to protect workers and patients.

Regulations have not been updated since 1987 and fail to cover broad areas such as medical-surgical units and emergency departments.

What’s the solution?

We’re fighting to pass the Safe Staffing and Patient Protection Act (S.2700 Vitale/A.3683 Quijano). This legislation would mandate safe and achievable nurse-to-patient ratios while also creating a strong enforcement mechanism for hospitals and facilities that do not adhere to state ratio guidelines. 

We’re also fighting to ensure that the full direct patient care team is protected against unsafe staffing and that all patients get the best quality of care.

What can CWA members do to join the fight?

Take our survey and share your experiences  with unsafe staffing! We need to arm ourselves with as much info and personal accounts of the impact of understaffing as possible in order to make changes throughout the state. 

You can fill out the survey at

Did you know?

Frontline healthcare workers in New Jersey are predominantly women and people of color.[3]

  • 91% of direct care workers are women
  • 82% are people of color
  • 54% are immigrants

A 2010 study showed that a California law implemented in 2004, similar to the Safe Staffing and Patient Protection Act, has saved thousands of patient lives.

  • NJ hospitals would have 14% fewer surgical deaths if they implemented the same 1:5 ratios that are required in CA.[4]

New Jersey ranks among the top 10 states with the most unfilled registered nurse positions.

  • In 2023 there were more than 13,000 open positions.[5]

Safe Staffing is financially beneficial in the long run.

  • For every 1% change in RN turnover, it will cost organizations $262,300.[6]
  • A 2019 study showed that revenue at California hospitals exceeded national averages by 33% after California implemented their staffing ratios law in 2004.[7]