How Have Mandated Nurse Staffing Ratios Impacted Hospitals? Perspectives from California Hospital Leaders


Susan A. Chapman, Joanne Spetz, Jean Ann Seago, Jennifer Kaiser, Catherine Dower, Carolina Herrera

Oct 2009

In 2004, California became the first state to implement minimum-nurse-staffing ratios in acute care hospitals. We examined the wages of registered nurses (RNs) before and after the legislation was enacted. Using four data sets—the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, the Current Population Survey, the National Compensation Survey, and the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey—we found that from 2000 through 2006, RNs in California metropolitan areas experienced real wage growth as much as twelve percentage points higher than the growth in the wages of nurses employed in metropolitan areas outside of California.