For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext 353
SCHENECTADY, June 30, 2010 – Registered nurses at Ellis Hospital want management to demonstrate that it’s committed to safe staffing.
The RNs are asking hospital officials to incorporate the hospital’s current RN-to-patient staffing guidelines into their next contract. 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.
The 670 RNs, represented by the New York State Nurses Association, are currently negotiating a new contract with management. Their most recent, four-year contract originally was to have expired on Feb 28, 2010, but was extended to June 21. The hospital has refused to extend the contract since its June expiration.
Including staffing guidelines in a contract would provide the nurses with a means of legal recourse should the hospital fail to meet the guidelines. Despite the positive impact on patient care, Ellis management doesn’t believe that nurses should have this right.
To raise the visibility of this important issue, the nurses will conduct an informational picket from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7 in front of the hospital on Nott Street. Nurses will be available to discuss the issues during the picket. Local elected public officials have been invited to attend.
“Ellis already has written staffing guidelines,” said Janet Strominger, labor representative for the Nurses Association. “The hospital should be held to its own assessment of what defines safe staffing. Why won’t Ellis show a commitment to be accountable to the community, as well as to its nursing staff, as a hospital of excellence?”
Enforceable staffing guidelines are an important factor in establishing a workplace environment that encourages RN recruitment and retention. But the RNs are also concerned about wages that keep pace with inflation, the ability to access their sick time, and affordable health insurance.
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 professional association and largest union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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