NYSNA: COVID-19 Update: April 18

This week we’ve gone all-out to ensure healthcare professionals across the state are having better access to N95’s, starting with enforcement of the Governor’s latest directive that “When a direct care giver in a hospital asks for a new N95 mask they will receive one at least once a day.”


You’ve helped us assess every hospital we represent across New York, and we’ve alerted the Governor and state lawmakers about the hospitals that are failing to comply.

We’ve also been in contact with New York City Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Katz, President and CEO of Health + Hospitals, about the ongoing PPE problems in the City’s public hospitals and our strong objection to the sick leave pay practices announced by H+H.

After continued pressure from frontline RNs, they established a PPE hotline for Health + Hospitals nurses to call whenever a manager refuses to provide them with new equipment.


We continue to push elected officials and our employers for access to testing for every frontline healthcare worker who has been exposed to COVID-19, and to hold us harmless when we get sick from COVID-19. No RN or healthcare professional should have to jump through hoops to access the state paid sick leave, or return to work without a full 14-day isolation.

NYSNA is also supporting the AFL-CIO’s push to get the New York Workers Compensation Board to treat COVID-19 as an occupational illness for frontline essential workers. This will help ensure workers are covered for any care they need and that their beneficiaries receive financial support if the worst happens.

We are encouraging all of our members who have been exposed to COVID to file a Workers Compensation Claim and will provide guidance to assist in that process.


We also continue to work with lawmakers across New York who recognize the devastating impact the recently adopted state budget will have on public health during this pandemic. At both the state and federal level NYSNA will continue to push for expanded access to health care  for the millions of unemployed and underinsured New Yorkers. And we are also prioritizing added funding for the state’s public and safety net hospitals bearing the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 patients. NYSNA’s analysis of the NYS budget is available at this link.

Many thanks to the members of New York’s Congressional delegation leading the charge on protections and benefits for frontline workers, including unlimited paid sick time, disability protections, and pay increases for essential workers.


But as more and more nurses getting sick from COVID-19, we urgently need to address the staffing crisis facing most hospitals in hard-hit areas.

Yesterday, we launched the Upstate COVID Nurse Corps to help address the staffing crisis across the New York City Metro region. This initiative is part of NYSNA’s effort to get upstate employers to stop pushing layoffs and furloughs, and to get Albany Medical Center to settle a COVID-19 contract.

NYSNA is calling on all employers across Upstate New York to work with our union to get experienced nurses to the frontlines in the fight against this virus. We will be providing more details directly to NYSNA members who work upstate in the coming days about how to participate in this essential program.


Many local, statewide and national businesses and services are offering discounts (or donations) to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Discover more about offers that feature wellness, childcare needs, hotel accommodations, transportation and additional offers on the NYSNA website.


I’m deeply saddened to report that we’ve had reports of more NYSNA members lost to COVID-19 in the past week. Please visit our Memorial Page to read tributes to these and other fallen colleagues, and if you have pictures or remembrances you’d like to share, please send them to covidmemorial@nysna.org.

Last week, NYSNA’s Board of Directors established a Fund for Fallen Members. Through this fund, NYSNA will provide $1,000 to the families of NYSNA members taken by COVID-19. Please contact your NYSNA Representative for more information or to help connect us with surviving family members.


The Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) program reminds all nurses to contact them for support and resources throughout the current COVID-19 crisis. Discover their range of services provided and contact information in this Informational Flier.


NYSNA members will be attending and leading trainings during the first-ever Virtual Labor Notes Conference, coming up today, April 18, 2020. Panels and workshops will be live streamed to the Labor Notes Facebook page, so we encourage you to tune into this important national conversation.

Labor Notes provides tools and training that rank-and-file members need to build stronger unions, and this virtual conference will bring union activists together from around the country to discuss organizing during a pandemic. Workshops will address topics like how to build a member-to-member organizing network during the COVID crisis and organizing around health and safety issues posed by COVID-19.


Members from around the state have been participating in a series of special workshops to share strategies for collectively addressing the critical issues facing frontline nurses, including PPE, testing, staffing, safe workplaces, and fair treatment. Please join us for one of our upcoming workshops!

COVID Action Team: Getting Started. Learn how NYSNA members are setting up COVID Action Teams to get resources and information to nurses on their unit and organize with staff and leaders around critical COVID-19 issues.

COVID Action Team: Basic Organizing Tools. Learn tried and true organizing tools that bring members together, get them more involved, and build the union’s collective power to advocate for nurses and patients.

COVID Action Team: Social Media Training. Learn how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to amplify your advocacy for nurses and the communities we care for.

*Open to members who have taken the Social Media training on April 16, 21 or 23.

Sign up today and spread the word!


As more and more staff nurses are being moved into Med-Surg and ICU areas, we want to help NYSNA members collectively advocate for more training and appropriate delegation of assignments, including delegating care to others, such as students, staff displaced from another institution, or volunteers. This requires a rapid assessment of skills, both your own and those of others available to assist in patient care.

NYSNA’s Nursing Education and Practice Department is now offering you COVID-19 time-limited competency programs that address practice standards during a pandemic in medical/surgical and ICU specialty care units.

Join us in a series of Zoom educational sessions designed to meet your practice needs during the COVID-19 crisis. Each program is comprised of two (2), two-hour programs offered over two (2) consecutive days.

Find out more information and register online.


Continuing education provider MED-ED is offering a new webinar free to NYSNA members.

You can view the program “Care of the Patient with Mechanical Ventilation” online, and download the handout from our website. The program is directly related to current practice needs nurses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are also pleased to announce that active NYSNA members will now receive free access to all MED-ED courses through June 16, 2020.

More than 25 courses are available. Check out the program and sign up on the NYSNA website.


Nurses continue to be at the center of the national conversation about COVID-19, and as the most trusted profession in the country, our voices carry substantial weight. NYSNA members have been featured in more than 75 news stories in the past week.

Below are a few recent examples:

  • WNBC: NYSNA led a vigil with nurses and other hospital workers at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx Tuesday night, honoring the colleagues that COVID-19 has taken from us and demanding better protection for those who remain. Local leader Sonia Lawrence spoke to the news about critical PPE shortages and the lack of social distancing inside the hospital.
  • The Island Now: The local news site reports that 648 staffers at Nassau hospitals have COVID-19, and quoted NYSNA leader Yasmine Beausejour talking about the sacrifices nurses are making, such as living apart from their families to protect them from exposure: “This is the reality. When they say we’re making sacrifices, these are the sacrifices.”
  • The City: Staten Island University Hospital North RN Dawn Cardello spoke about about hospitals’ lack of compliance with Governor Cuomo’s order that medical workers receive a new N95 mask every day. “Shame on the health care system,” Cardello said. “It’s disheartening to see that everything that is needed, the tools that you need to care for the patient…you have to fight for”.
  • Spectrum News: Albany Medical Center leader Lenore Granitch told reporters, "I understand that you’re getting information from hospital administration but you need to listen to the nurses and the health care workers on the front lines, and we’re telling you that we are reusing these items."

In solidarity,
Pat Kane, RN
Executive Director