NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2010
by Erin Silk
As in previous history, proposed cuts to hospital services, nursing homes, and health care and personal services ultimately mean cuts to staffing, which puts the public at risk.
“These cuts, coupled with a lack of state regulation to ensure safe staffing, provide a formula that will negatively impact patient care and compromise patient outcomes for years to come,” said Gerardi.
At facilities such as St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, short or insufficient staffing continues to be the main issue and cuts to personnel will stretch an already overworked facility to its breaking point.
Renee Carson, RN at St. Joseph’s, fears budget cuts will impact her ability to provide safe patient care. She reports that at her facility, even the receptionist post has been cut, forcing nurses on the unit to cover phones and assume the duties of ancillary staff.
Carson explains how easy it is for a nurse to get behind when they must begin their day covering the reception desk instead of caring for patients. “Medication rounds begin at 10 a.m., yet the nurse on duty at 7 a.m. is still answering phones and directing patients. It sets the tone for an overwhelming day that is already short-staffed to begin with,” she says.
In anticipation of a dire budget announcement, NYSNA has begun a campaign to fight cuts to health care. A budget rally is planned for March 8 at 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol. NYSNA needs your help in sending a message to the Governor and the Legislature that we won’t stand for budget cuts that put patients at risk.
A registration form for the rally has been included in this issue of New York Nurse and we urge you to make your voice heard. NYSNA will provide transportation to the Capitol, lunch, and hats and ponchos to all who participate.
In addition to releasing statements to the press, advertising has begun in your district and petitions are available for signature. Check with your nursing representative or visit http://www.nysna.org/union/10_rally.htm for materials and information about joining the fight against healthcare cuts that hurt everyone.