It’s been a very hard week for millions of people. Tens of thousands are still suffering.
Everywhere you look, nurses have been on the front lines, caring for the injured and helping us rebuild.
Like at Bellevue Hospital, where nurses carried out a heroic evacuation of 700 patients when the hospital’s generators failed. As we write, almost every Bellevue patient has been successfully moved. Only two patients are still waiting transfer.
Nurses carried out heroic evacuations when other hospitals lost power, too: at Coney Island Hospital, at NYU Langone, at NY Downtown. Nurses helped take in those patients, at St. Luke’s Roosevelt, at Mt. Sinai, at Lenox Hill, at NY-Presbyterian, at North Shore Manhasset, and many others.
Staten Island and Long Island were particularly hard hit. At dozens of healthcare facilities, big and small, nurses worked incredibly long shifts and took extraordinary measures, under very difficult circumstances, to care for their patients. For many nurses, just getting to work was an extreme hardship.
Thousands more nurses are in their communities, caring for the injured and helping rebuild.
Now is the time to take a critical assessment of where we are in our facilities.
Most of our facilities have been functioning in crisis mode.
Some administrators will take shortcuts or hide problems during a crisis.
Problems that are hidden cannot be fixed.
Local Bargaining Unit leaders and NYSNA representatives are in the field to help members stand up for our patients and deal with these problems.
To reach your NYSNA representative, call their number, or call NYSNA at 800.724.6976. Leave your name, the facility where you work, and the name of the staffmember you are trying to reach.
The NYSNA Board of Directors is developing an assessment survey you can use to assess problems at your facility, and identify solutions. Watch for it very soon.
Now is also a good time to start keeping a journal of issues so that they can be addressed.
This storm helped draw attention to some of the serious structural problems in our healthcare delivery system: as we write to you, there’s no functioning Level 1 Trauma Center below 57th Street in Manhattan.
After the cleanup and the recovery is over, nurses will push to fix those problems.
Right now, all of us are focused on the recovery.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost loved ones in this storm.
Nurses do heroic things - everyday.
All of New York and beyond appreciates the incredible work you have done this week.
Julie Pinkham and Nancy Kaleda
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses. The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.