Registered nurses at St. Charles Hospital want management to strengthen the current RN-to-patient staffing guidelines in their next contract. And now they’re taking their fight to the airwaves.
The 325 RNs, represented by the New York State Nurses Association, are currently negotiating a new contract with management. Their most recent, three-year contract expired on March 31.
The RNs already conducted an informational picket in July to raise the visibility about this important issue. Now they’re airing these public opinion advertisements on local radio:
Staffing guidelines detail how many RNs will be on duty on each unit for each shift. Studies have shown that hospitals with higher RN-to-patient ratios have better patient outcomes. Staffing guidelines in a contract provide the nurses with a means of legal recourse should the hospital fail to meet the guidelines. Despite the positive impact on patient care, St. Charles management hasn’t supported the nurses’ call to strengthen these guidelines.
“Strong staffing guidelines are an important factor in establishing a workplace environment that encourages RN recruitment and retention,” said Mike Healy, RN president of the local bargaining unit. “Why won’t St. Charles show a commitment to be accountable to the community, as well as to its nursing staff, as a hospital of excellence?”
Other recruitment and retention issues the RNs are concerned about include wages that keep pace with inflation and affordable health insurance.