Nurses union, hospitals battle over ballot question setting patient limits

A powerful Massachusetts nurses union is again pushing for mandated staffing levels, setting the stage for a contentious and expensive fight with hospitals for the support of voters in November.

A ballot initiative backed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association would set strict limits on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, for all hospital units in the state. Union nurses say they are often overburdened, leaving them unable to give the best possible care and increasing the risk of patient falls, infections, and other complications.

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