Rolling Actions Highlight Dangerously Low Frontline Staffing

Nurses across four major downstate hospital systems spoke out for safe patient care.

Across the country, nurses have spoken out about the challenges of providing care in the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve urged health systems to provide more resources to care for patients, including hiring more nurses to address staffing shortages. In November and December, NYSNA members spoke out at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley, Mount Sinai Morningside/West, Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell, Montefiore Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital.

NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center has been losing over 100 nurses a month, and on Nov. 17, NYSNA members urged management do more to retain experienced staff. These nurses are in moral distress and joined with community and elected leaders to send a clear message to NYP management, “Respect and Retain Your Nurses." The nurses were featured on a front page story in the New York Daily News highlighting the conditions driving nurses from the bedside. Check out photos and video highlights of the speak out.

NYP nurses at NYP-Hudson Valley Hospital also made their voices heard for safe staffing, respect, and a fair contract. Nurses there have been fighting for a fair first contract for three years. In the ICU, nurses are sometimes asked to care for four patients, instead of one or two; and the nurses speaking out about unsafe staffing have faced retaliation and intimidation. See pictures from the picket line and read news coverage here.

The Mount Sinai Morningside and West nurses are experiencing some of the worst conditions they have ever known. “Staffing on the margins and cutting corners are dangerous for patients,” said NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN. “Where is management’s concern for patient safety? What is their plan to recruit, train and retain nurses?” Check out photos from the action and news coverage from CBS.

Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health raised their voices for safe staffing on Dec. 2. SIUH RN Amanda Murphy noted, “As a nurse, you take the oath to do no harm, and only do good for your patients. We’re all working in a system that does not give us the staff and supplies to properly care for our patients.” Check out the photos and read more about the speak out in the Staten Island Advance.

On Dec. 9, NYSNA members from three Montefiore Bronx facilities offered testimony about how hundreds of vacant nursing positions are fueling a patient care crisis and called upon Montefiore administration to DO MORE for their nurses and patients. Elected officials and community advocates turned out in force to support NYSNA nurses, including newly-elected Assembly Member Amanda Septimo, who said: “We’re here to tell Montefiore that they will hear from all of us. You can’t pretend to care about the Bronx and treat nurses like this in this hospital. It’s not caring about Bronx residents to have them come into a place and see a nurse who has 20 patients when safety guidelines say she should have five. It’s not caring for the community to have patients on stretchers in the hallways, but keep units closed because you want to save money.” See images from the speak out and read more in the Bronx Times.

NYSNA members at Mount Sinai’s main campus spoke out about understaffing throughout the hospital that puts patients at risk. While Mount Sinai sits on $1.7 billion and launches ad campaigns with a new slogan, “We Find a Way,” nurses and healthcare professionals are demanding Mount Sinai find a way to make safe staffing a reality. Check out photos from the action and watch the news coverage on NY-1 Noticias.

Although they come from different hospital systems, nurses are united for safe staffing. Congratulations to the nurses who courageously spoke out on behalf of their patients, their colleagues, and their practice. And congratulations to the nurses who work incredibly hard every day to provide the best care possible under the circumstances. NYSNA members will continue to advocate for patient safety and do whatever it takes to fulfill our mission of quality care for all!