For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan Lutz, 347.835.3429, email@example.com
|WMC RNs Sam Caquias and Juliane Hatzel attending a meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators earlier this week.|
WHITE PLAINS, September 14, 2012 - Westchester Medical Center administrators are taking a world-class hospital in the wrong direction. That’s the disturbing story nurses told members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators on Tuesday.
“Administrators are trying to impose a new model of care,” said Juliane Hatzel, RN. Administrators are replacing permanent employees – RNs and assistive personnel – with workers from staffing agencies.
“It sounds like what is going on here is an ideological experiment in bringing in private companies to run a public hospital,” responded Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky. “History shows ideological experiments don't end well.”
Last December, administrators laid off 139 nurses. They’re using agency nurses to fill in the slack. But many of those nurses are not trained for the units they're on. And they skip the standard six month orientation new nurses used to get, Hatzel said.
This year, administrators laid off hundreds of assistive personnel, and brought an outside subcontractor to supply staff. “In Burn Care, highly skilled aides have been subcontracted out,” said Sam Caquias, an RN and president of the NYSNA chapter at WMC. "Those aides worked hand-in-hand with RNs to change out sterile dressing. It’'s hard for an employment agency to keep people long enough to gain those skills.”
Margaret Ciavolella, RN, said that nurses are going above and beyond to help patients stay safe – but they can only be in one place at a time. “Having an adequate nurse-to-patient ratio is the number one factor for having a good patient outcome,” she said.
“This hospital tells the community one thing, and Wall Street another,” said Desma Holcomb, a researcher at the nurses’ union. “In a recent bond offering, they told investors that they are doing well and making plans for major expansion.”
Nurses warn that the hospital’s new model of care could put that future in jeopardy.
Nurses turned in 1,600 protests of assignment that document how administrators are hurting patient care at the hospital.
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.
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