The healthcare industry is highly regulated to ensure patients receive safe, high-quality, patient-centered care. Even with these regulations, patient outcomes remain poor, given the high expenditure and percentage of the gross domestic product that healthcare comprises in the United States. Nurses make up the largest proportion of the healthcare field and are often overlooked when it comes to policies to ensure their practice remains safe and licenses protected. Nurses are the eyes and ears of their board-certified providers and detect subtle changes in a patient’s condition. However, such attention to detail can be executed only when the nurses can care for their patients safely. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light what those in healthcare knew—that nurses constantly work short-staffed and that they are often overworked, with high patient loads and limited to no flexibility in staffing. Limited research is available surrounding safe harbor, but a plethora of research exists on the need to improve nurse staffing policies and regulation. This study analyzed New Mexico nurses’ awareness of the Safe Harbor for Nurses Act (2019) by comparing awareness of safe harbor to licensure and practice setting. A survey was distributed to all currently licensed nurses in the state to assess this awareness and ask, “Is there a difference in awareness of the Safe Harbor for Nurses Act (2019) between registered nurses and licensed practical nurses or those practicing in hospitals and long-term nursing facilities?”



Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Level of Degree


First Committee Member

Melissa Cole, DNP, MSW, RN-BC, NEA-BC, FACHE

Second Committee Member

Lisa Taylor, DNP, RN, FNP-BC


Safe Harbor for Nurses Act, refuse assignment, Texas, New Mexico, safe staffing, nurse staffing, awareness, COVID-19