Peconic Bay Medical Center members had endured many long-running issues with the management of the Emergency Department: short staffing, holes in the schedule, lack of equipment and favoritism. After the NYSNA Executive Committee and representative held numerous meetings with upper management and human resources to raise the issues, the hospital finally agreed to meet directly with the ED staff. Management interviewed every ED employee individually — nurses as well as other staff — and heard a consistent and disturbing story.
At the end of the process, the ED manager and assistant manager resigned and an interim manager was brought in to identify staffing and equipment needs. The hospital already has hired four agency nurses for the summer, so that staff will be covered for vacations. The process of recruiting permanent staff has begun, as well, but is moving slowly due to high turnover in the department.
In the meantime, Peconic Bay’s recent affiliation with the North Shore LIJ network is presenting a whole new set of challenges. Diane Groneman, Respiratory Therapist and NYSNA LBU President, said, “members are hoping that finding ways to correct the challenges in the ED will remain a focus of the labor-management process now that North Shore has entered the picture.” While the problems are not yet solved, by uniting their voices, the ED staff made a huge leap forward for Peconic Bay’s patients.