News Briefs: May 2015

Karine Raymond, RN, surrounded by her colleagues, addresses the hospital’s staffing crisis at the May 12 Press Conference held outside Montefiore’s Weiler Hospital.

Montefiore Nurses Week is no celebration

Most hospitals recognize their nurses with banquets during National Nurses Week. Montefiore thanked its nurses with a security escort from the building on May 11.

Karine Raymond, RN and NYSNA’s Director at Large at Montefiore, said she was speaking with her fellow nurses when she was told to leave by her superiors.

“I came in on my day off to attend the Nurses Week breakfast and give out ‘NYSNA Caring for All New Yorkers’ pins. As I was passing them out, the Director of Nursing told me to leave; when I asked why, she said that I was supposed to have made an appointment to attend the breakfast and pass out the pins,” said Ms. Raymond. “When I respectfully declined, she called security. Six security officers told me that if I did not leave I would be arrested.” Five other nurses who were talking to colleagues about safe staffing and other important issues at the breakfast were also thrown out.

The next day, NYSNA members held a press conference to raise awareness of the silencing of nurses and the staffing crisis inside the hospital. Some of the nurses who spoke said it’s not uncommon for them to care for more than six patients at a time. Because Ms. Raymond has been a vocal proponent of hiring more nurses to improve staffing levels, she believes the Director of Nursing singled her out: “I’ve never, ever experienced anyone being told they cannot come on the premises on their day off. Without a doubt, I believe I was singled out. It’s appalling that rather than collaborate with us on how to fix the staffing crisis, they take this opportunity to try to silence us.”

Marva Wade in Washington, DC

Marva Wade, RN and NYSNA Second Vice President, joined NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in Washington, DC, on May 12 as part of his Progressive Agenda campaign tour to tackle income inequality.

First for Working Families Party

In the May 5th special election, Diana Richardson was elected to represent Brooklyn’s 43rd Assembly District, home to HHC’s Kings County Medical Center. Her election is notable because she is the first candidate to run exclusively on the Working Families line and win. NYSNA endorsed Richardson and believes she will be a champion for strengthening our hospitals and healthcare system. She replaces Democrat Karim Camara, who left the position to become executive director of Governor Cuomo’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services.

UPSTATE NEWS

Samaritan nurses’ staffing campaign yielding impressive results

The unit-based petition campaign to improve staffing underway at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown is taking off. In the month since the campaign was first covered in the April issue of NY Nurse, Samaritan nurses report that they’ve achieved at least 19 postings for new full-time positions (up from 2!), confirmed that 5 part-time positions are being converted to full-time jobs, and that the hospital has hired 2 travelers.

North Country NYSNA members to leverage bargaining power to protect rural patient care

NYSNA members from University of Vermont Health Network (formerly CVPH), Alice Hyde, and Adirondack Medical Center came together at the May 13 Inter-Regional Meeting in Plattsburgh to share strategies for winning strong contracts that protect rural patient care. The RNs and other healthcare professionals agreed to leverage the area’s high union density — second only to Downstate — to build bargaining power.

NYSNA Executive Board Member Kris Powell, RN, made the drive from Olean General Hospital in Cattaraugus County to let the members know that “although Upstate may be far from the bigger hospitals in New York City, we are all in the same boat when it comes to securing safe patient care for our communities.” Powell encouraged the room to attend NYSNA’s annual convention being held in Saratoga Springs, Oct. 18-21, where “members will be able to experience the full force of our union and the work we are doing together to improve patient care.”

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