The stark reality at Oneida Healthcare Center (OHC) for nurses in the Med/Surg unit is this: patient loads of 9, 10 or even more. Throughout several months of bargaining, the hospital’s nurses have been sounding the alarm about the impact of these patient assignments on the quality and safety of care. Yet management has repeatedly denied this reality, rebuffing NYSNA proposals for improving staffing. Nurses have emphasized that the hospital’s ability to attract and retain experienced nurses is severely undercut by these staffing levels.
With no movement at the negotiating table, the nurses took their safe staffing message directly to the community, holding an informational picket and rally outside the hospital on December 16. Sharon Stoner, RN and LBU Secretary, was among those who spoke with patients and other community members. “Today, the nurses of OHC stood up for our patients and the rest of the nurses of Central New York. We certainly hope that management will use this as a wakeup call to come back to the table and negotiate a fair contract that protects quality care.”