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Touro Law Review

Abstract

Nurses are integral to the delivery of quality health care in this country. They set aside their own needs and fears to provide care and other social services to people across a multitude of settings, taking on the burdens and stresses of others. However, our profit-driven health care system incentivizes employers to maximize productivity at reduced costs by asking nurses to do more with less. Nurses are expected to endure harsh working conditions, proven to be harmful to the nurses’ health and well-being, despite evidence showing that poor working conditions can lead to poor patient outcomes.

There are numerous worker protection laws designed to empower nurses, as workers in this country, to advocate for better working conditions. Yet, despite the inextricable link between poor working conditions and compromised patient safety, licensing bodies do not require nurses to understand their rights in the workplace. This has resulted in a nursing workforce that is woefully unprepared to deal with the adverse working conditions that are naturally borne from our profit-driven health care system. Thus, this Article argues that, as a public health and safety measure, workers’ rights education should be required for nursing licensure.

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