On April 21, NYSNA nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown held an informational picket to shine the spotlight on staffing concerns at their hospital.
For the past year, NYSNA nurses have been at the bargaining table negotiating a new contract, but management has been unwilling to address short staffing issues that put patient care at risk.
Staffing is top concern
According to Dawn Bailie, RN and member of her hospital’s NYSNA Executive Committee, “This was the first time during a long year of bargaining that we’ve held a picket. We did it because we want the community to understand the critical link between staffing and quality of care.”
St. Catherine nurses’ top concern is improving the environment for patients. Ms. Bailie reported, “We have serious understaffing, particularly in the Emergency Room.” Some of this she attributes to a lack of resources for patients with mental health issues who end up in the ER because they have no place else to go.
The nurses were pleased with the community response to the April 21 action. “The community got the message, and its support was overwhelming,” Ms. Bailie added. “If management were only half as responsive, we’d be making great progress in our negotiations.”