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    Nurses, supporters rally at statehouse for bill they say could save lives

    By KaJéza HawkinsChanning King,


    DAYTON, Ohio ( WDTN ) — As part of International Nurses Week and Mental Health Awareness Month , nurses rallied at the Ohio Statehouse Friday to demand better work environments and to shed light on the mental health issues that are taking their lives.

    Nurses are demanding that House Bill 285, which would require hospitals to establish registered nurse staffing plans, get pushed through the statehouse. They hope their demands are met before another life is lost to the healthcare system.

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    Tristian Kate was an Ohio nurse who took her own life in August 2023 after struggling with the workload she faced.

    Her family joined the dozens of nurses, lawmakers and general supporters at the rally.

    “Tristian was very big on writing wrongs and speaking up when she felt like something isn’t okay,” said Sarah Smith, Tristian Kate’s sister. “So she would be the loudest out of the bunch.”

    Shortly after Kate took her life, her family found and publicly shared a letter she wrote called “A Letter to My Abuser,” where she highlighted the struggles she faced as a nurse.

    The letter struck a deep chord with healthcare workers such as Nurse Erica, a nurse advocate from Nevada with nearly 1 million followers on social media who came to rally to show support.

    “The way that she skillfully, artfully captured what nurses go through is so powerful, so poignant,” said Erica. “There isn’t a nurse around that didn’t read that for the first time, not knowing the background and didn’t know exactly what she was referring to.”

    Supporters of HB 285 said that fixing nursing staffing issues should not be a concern just for healthcare workers. They said it was an issue everyone should care about.

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    “Getting House Bill 285 passed, you know, it’s part of our process, yes,” said Smith. “But it’s for the better of everybody. It’s better for nurses, it’s better for health care in general, and it’s better for patients.”

    Friday’s rally was the third in support of HB 285 in just the last month.

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