For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
NEW YORK, March 19, 2009 – The RNs of Goldwater and Coler Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facilities on Roosevelt Island held vigils on Thursday, March 19. From 9 to 10:30 am, the nurses were outside Goldwater Specialty Hospital, at 1 Main Street on Roosevelt Island, along with City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and a representative from State Assemblymember Micah Zellner’s office. From 12 noon to 1:30 pm, the nurses stood vigil outside Coler Specialty Hospital, 900 Main Street, on the other side of Roosevelt Island.
More than 420 RNs, all of whom belong to the New York State Nurses Association, work in these two facilities. The nurses are holding these vigils because their work schedules are being changed in ways that force them to leave their vulnerable patients and find work at other facilities where scheduling approaches the industry standard. More specifically, they are losing their Alternate Work Schedules (AWS), which allow them to work 12-hour shifts three to four times a week.
“I’m committed to my patients here a Goldwater, but I’m also committed to my family,” said Keron Capleton, an RN at Goldwater for 16 years. “By eliminating the alternate work schedule, the hospital is forcing me to choose between the two.”
City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin said, “We need to look out for what’s best for the patients of these hospitals and what’s best for the nurses who work there. Neither of these groups are being well served by this switch. I strongly urge the hospital to rethink its decision.”
Two years ago, hospital administration allowed nurses to choose between working five eight-hour shifts, or more flexible 12-hour shifts three to four days a week. The 12-hour shifts are very popular among the nurses and helped to recruit many new nurses to the hospitals.
The current nursing shortage will make it difficult to recruit and retain nurses at these facilities without the alternate work schedules.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.