Over 700 official complaints filed by nurses about understaffing at Olean General Hospital in the last two years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2021
Contact: Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

OFFICIAL NUMBER: 753 COMPLAINTS SIGNED BY 2,820 NURSES

Complaints are called ‘Protests of Assignment’ and Are Filed with Hospital Management

Nurses in Olean tell Albany: ‘Pass Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act’

NEW YORK – The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) announced today that 753 complaints have been filed by nurses to hospital management about understaffing at Olean General Hospital in 2019 and 2020. A total of 2,820 nurse signatures appear on those complaints because multiple signatures are allowed on each complaint.

These numbers are included in the 26,219 total complaints of understaffing statewide, signed by 97,715 nurses, in the last two years. The complaints are called “protests of assignment” (POA) and are formal complaints given to hospital management.

The large number of complaints is further proof that Albany lawmakers must pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to ensure that all patients across the state get the care they need and deserve.

The nurse descriptions that accompany the POAs tell a troubling story of what is really going on inside New York hospitals.

One nurse writes: Units 3A/3B combined. All nurses at 7-8 patients each; charge nurse fully assigned with 7-8 patients. Several confused patients/high fall risk/alarms. Several tube feeds. Several wounds/dressing changes

Another nurse writes: One nurse, no ancillary staff present. 8 well babies, 1 babe in NICU on oxygen and IV, one well babe with iv in place, many admissions evening through night with only one nurse present 7pm-7am.

“Understaffing truly affects the patients and the nurses at Olean General Hospital,” said Kathleen Neeson, RN, Cardiac Unit at Olean General Hospital. “There have been times when I had to care for 14 patients at once– far exceeding what was contractually agreed to. We’re constantly jumping from patient to patient and there are times when we have little time to properly check vitals, respond to emergencies, or even use the bathroom.”

These types of stories are coming in everyday from across the state.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores that safe staffing saves lives in hospitals and nursing homes. A recent report by Attorney General Letitia James is the latest evidence that connects safe staffing and positive patient outcomes. The central finding and core recommendation of the AG’s report are that poor staffing was a major factor in the high death toll in nursing homes, and that New York must enact enforceable, minimum staffing standards, or hours of care per resident.

ALBANY: DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON NEW YORK PATIENTS OR NEW YORK NURSES!

For more information, go to campaignforpatientsafety.org.

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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, please 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.