MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TOMORROW, MAY 20: CVPH Healthcare Workers speak out for safe staffing amid hospital restructure that is putting patient safety at risk

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES: May 19, 2021
Contact: Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org | 646-853-4489
Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

Nurses and healthcare workers say landmark staffing legislation will improve hospital and nursing home staffing levels, but patients need quality care now

Plattsburgh, NY — For nurses and healthcare workers at CVPH, the recent passage of hospital and nursing home staffing bills was welcome news—but changes cannot come soon enough. Nurses and healthcare workers are speaking out about staffing and healthcare service cuts throughout the hospital that put patients at risk.

From the emergency room, to critical care, to medical-surgical areas of the hospital, understaffing of frontline healthcare staff is raising serious concerns. NYSNA healthcare workers are urging the UVM-CVPH Administration to make immediate changes to improve healthcare in their community.

WHAT: CVPH nurse and healthcare worker speak out  
WHERE: In front of CVPH, Medical Office Building entrance on Cornelia Street (at Draper Ave), Plattsburgh
WHEN: Thursday, May 20 at 12:00 PM
VISUALS: NYSNA nurses and healthcare workers will be decked out in union gear. Masking and social distancing will be strictly observed.

In 2019 and 2020, more than 1,500 nurses at CVPH signed onto 410 Protest of Assignment (POA) forms. These official complaints about understaffing are given to hospital management when nurses believe that understaffing poses a serious risk to patient safety and a nurse’s license. The nurses will describe conditions at CVPH they hope the new staffing bills will address.

Linda Fisher, RN, says, “Sometimes I’m in the ER working triage and I’m there by myself with 25 people waiting. Sometimes patients wait for days to be seen. They could be holding for days on a hospital stretcher, instead of a bed, in an appropriate room, with the appropriate level of staff to care for them.”

Critical care nurse Travis Larche, RN-BC, PCCN, LEAD II RN, says, “Many days we have less than the required clinical assistants, less than enough nurses, no charge nurses, and reduced ancillary department staff to care for our patients. As a nurse I not only care for the critically ill and those inflicted with the virus, but have the added challenges of answering phones, doing clerical work, fixing and searching for needed equipment and supplies, bathing and feeding patients, and trying to keep our patients safe from falls and other injuries. These challenges combined are too much for anyone to handle including myself, an experienced, efficient, and dedicated nurse.”

The more than 42,000 members of the New York State Nurses Association have been advocating for safe staffing reforms for more than a decade. NYSNA applauds the New York State Assembly and Senate for passing landmark staffing legislation on May 4, which will save lives and help ensure all New York’s patients receive quality healthcare. Now, for the first time in New York State, there will be a clear process for setting and enforcing staffing standards at every hospital and nursing home. The two bills, a hospital staffing committees and disclosure bill (A108B/S1168A), and a standard minimum nursing home staffing levels bill (A7119/S6346), will bring New York one giant step closer to equitable, universal safe staffing standards in every hospital and nursing home throughout the state, regardless of zip code.

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, visit nysna.org.

About NYSNA

We are 42,000 nurses working together to win safe staffing, keep hospitals open for care, stop the Wall Street attack on our patients, and win healthcare for all.