A NEWSLETTER FOR NYSNA RNs AT NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS
Nurses from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn call for safe staffing throughout the NYC H+H system
Calls for Safe Staffing Heat Up H+H Annual Meetings As anyone who has ever attended a NYC Health + Hospitals annual meeting knows, these meetings can be long and somber affairs. But not when dozens of nurses show up, step up to the microphone, and start telling the truth about our challenges in providing care with chronic understaffing! NYSNA nurses did just that, explaining our daily realities, and speaking out passionately for the good of our patients and the communities we serve. At the first H+H Annual Board Meeting, held at Bellevue, LBU President Todd Schultz, RN, had this to say, “As an LBU we have been working with management locally to improve our staffing levels, and I know how hard they’re working to get us staff so I have to commend them for that, but the power to bring our staffing back up to safe levels isn’t sourced from the 14th floor of the H building. It comes from downtown and it comes from this board.” At the Queens Hospital meeting, Reggie Atangan, RN, said, “I’ve been a nurse here at Queens Hospital for 10 years, and I’ve been in the community for 40 years. I’m holding the 46 POAs I have filed in the last year. This works out to about 1 POA a week when I have experienced unsafe levels of staffing. I also have 24 POAs from other day shift nurses, representing about one a week for the past six months. I urge all of you to look into the hardships the nurses here have undergone.” At the Staten Island meeting, Anne Bové, RN, former NYSNA NYCH+H/Mayorals Executive Council President and current Secretary of the NYSNA Board of Directors,
testified, along with Pat Kane RN, NYSNA Treasurer and candidate for the 61st Assembly District in Staten Island. At the Kings County meeting, Judith Cutchin, RN and President, NYC H+H/Mayorals Executive Council said: “I was born in the NYC H+H system, I’m a nurse in the system, and I’m a life-long patient in the system. We do so many things well—from collaboration to translation services—in fact, better than what I see in private-sector hospitals. We need to put forward and build on the positive things we do. At Woodhull, we recently hired more nurses, which has made a difference and is a good start. We need more nurses throughout the H+H system.” Nurses in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn were united in our call for safe staffing at all H+H facilities. So far, we have been encouraged by the response of the board. After giving testimony at the Queens Hospital meeting, Kesha Washington, RN, returned to work on the night shift in the ICU. Dr. Katz took her up on her offer to walk the floor of the ICU after the meeting to see first hand how staffing shortages impact frontline nurses and patients. As Lindella Artman, RN and LBU President at Queens Hospital said, “We believe that improving the quality of nursing care is critical to the success of any effort to restructure NYCHH and improve its financial situation. We are asking that NYCHH take the lead in implementing nurse to patient ratios in all of our facilities that are consistent with the Safe Staffing for Quality Care legislation that is currently pending in the State Legislature.” On May 23, nurses at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx will have a chance to speak truth to power. Email Henry. Rose@nysna.org to sign up as a speaker. Let’s go nurses!
WE ARE NURSES, WE ARE NYSNA!
Nurses Take our Message to the Community
community and to making sure every unit has the safe level of staffing that our patients deserve.” The CB committee meetings are giving nurses the opportunity to connect, share, and build relationships with community leaders. We have also gained support for safe staffing—the Health Committees of Brooklyn CB9, Bronx CB 1 near Lincoln Hospital, and Bronx CB 11 near Jacobi Medical Center have all committed to endorse our safe staffing resolution!
Jacobi nurses Mary Simon, RN, Kelly Cabrera, AED, Toni DeNicola, NP, Mary Sampino, Midwife, after the Bronx CB11 Committee meeting
The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act is moving in the state legislature, and nurses are moving in our communities, spreading the word about safe staffing and gaining grassroots support. Nurses are making inroads into Community Boards throughout the city—beginning in April, we educated members of the Health and Social Services Committees in Harlem, Crown Heights, and the South Bronx about the challenges nurses and patients face due to understaffing. Many of the Community Board members with whom we met with have deep relationships with their local NYC H+H hospital. For example, many CB 9 committee members have been patients at Kings County Hospital, or have family members who are. Many have been nurses or healthcare workers, or have family members who are. Many are concerned with issues of safe staffing and its role in quality health care delivery. All understand the importance of NYC’s public hospitals to their communities. Curlean Duncan-Britton, RN, LBU President and NYC H+H & Mayorals Executive Council Secretary attended the Brooklyn Community Board 9 meeting and told participants: “I want everyone who walks through the doors of Kings County to have an excellent experience. As an ER nurse of 30 years and presently working in the Ambulatory Practice at this hospital, I am committed to this
Lincoln nurses Lorraine Pierre, RN and Sonia Lawrence, RN listen as a Bronx CB 1 member talks about her patient experience
The next step is taking this support to the general Community Board meetings later this month to win the endorsement of the full Board. See below for upcoming meetings you can attend. With grassroots pressure growing for safe staffing, we are hopeful that nurses and our patients will soon have the resources we need and
Upcoming Meetings Brooklyn CB 9 - Tuesday, May 22, at 7:00 pm Middle School 21, 400 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn Bronx CB 11 - Thursday, May 24 at 7:00 pm Calvary Hospital, 1740 Eastchester Rd, Main Fl, Bronx Bronx CB 1 - Thursday, May 31 at 6:00 pm Metropolitan College, 529 Courtland Ave, 2nd Fl, Bronx deserve.
We Are Winning City Council Support! In May, Bellevue nurses Todd Schultz and Susan Neverson met with City Council Member Keith Powers, who represents Manhattan Community Board 2. He expressed support for safe staffing legislation. Save the date for the CB 2 Health and Social Services Committee meeting on June 26 at 7 PM!
Ray Briggs, RN, Coney Island Hospital and Curlean Duncan-Britton, RN, Kings County join NYSNA staff and Brooklyn CB 9 Health & Social Services Committee members to discuss safe staffing
A Newsletter for NYSNA RNs at NYC Health + Hospitals
working groups, which meet every two weeks and include nurse volunteers. The working groups—divided into Leadership, Environment, and People—are tasked with identifying solutions to some of Bellevue’s biggest retention problems. As a member of the Leadership Working Group, Anselm intends to look at issues of inadequate staffing, floating, unfair or unsafe work assignments, and overall respect. “Floating everyday can be unnerving and unsafe,” says Anselm. “But every nurse is different and may have different issues. Many are concerned with respect—how our managers treat us.”
New Retention Committee at Bellevue Bellevue nurses experience a persistent problem with retention. The issue was a constant topic at Labor-Management and Nurse Practice meetings, until nurses and the Chief Nursing Officer decided to take complaints to the next level and form a Retention Committee. Anselm Lalla, RN, in Labor-Delivery explains, “Bellevue is hemorrhaging nurses—both our newer nurses and our more experienced nurses. As staff nurses, we can’t control how much Bellevue pays nurses —we bargain at the table with other city workers — but we can have more direct control over other things, like our working conditions.” The Retention Committee has had three meetings to identify the biggest issues, and is now breaking into
NYSNA nurses expect that recommendations will be made to address bullying, inadequate staffing, floating, preferential treatment, disrespect, inadequate cleaning, lack of diversity, unequal opportunity, transfer opportunities, sick time, patient loads, unfair assignments, and poor communication. Right now, the working groups are trying to spread the word and get more nurses involved. “We want all nurses to be aware, so they contribute their ideas,” says Anselm. “When you want something done, you need everyone involved! The goal of the committee is to keep nurses, so who better to get involved than nurses?” We are excited to see the recommendations come out of these working groups, and most of all—to see our recommendations become reality.
NYSNA Celebrates Nurses Week!
(For more information or to register, ask your NYSNA Rep)
PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGY/ ONCOLOGY CERT. REVIEW
May 23 & 24, NYC NYSNA Office
INITIAL GROUP FACILITATOR TRAINING
SINGLE PAYER LOBBY DAY
May 25, NYC NYSNA Office
June 5, Albany HANDLING CONFLICT IN THE WORKPLACE
June 7, NYC HR Admin, Brooklyn HEALTH & SAFETY LEADER WORKSHOP
June 13, NYC NYSNA Office
TELEMETRY MONITORING REVIEW
OPERATING ROOM CERT. REVIEW
June 14 & 15, NYC NYSNA Office
June 18 & 19, NYC NYSNA Office PSYCH NURSE CERTIFICATION REVIEW
June 21 & 22, NYC NYSNA Office
NEW: Must-have course for Psych Nurses looking to become certified There are two opportunities in June and September to take an exceptional new FREE course offered by NYSNA— The Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse: Principles of Professional Nursing Practice and Certification Review Program. For more information and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/psychcourse
NYC H+H & MAYORAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CHAIRS RNS: • Naomi Greene, Administration for Children’s Services • Todd Schultz, Bellevue Hospital Center • Jovana Woodley, Coler Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility • Ray Briggs, Coney Island Hospital • Audrey Morgan, Correctional Health Services • Florence Exinor, Cumberland D & T Center • Keysha Morris, Department of Correction • Theresa Minarik, Department of Sanitation • Patricia Morris, Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing & Rehab Ctr • Deborah Gatson, East NY D & T Center • Pauline Williams, Elmhurst Hospital Center • James Ambery, Fire Department • Kittie McGee, Harlem Hospital Center • Grace Lee, Gouverneur Healthcare Services • Peter Pacheco, Henry J. Carter Specialty Hosp. & Nursing Facility • Rivka Elyahu, HHC Health and Home Care • Yelena Levin, Human Resources Administration • Mary Simon, Jacobi Medical Center • Curlean Duncan, Kings County Hospital Center • Marsha Wilson, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center • Charles Mighty, Metropolitan Hospital Center • Nicole Smith Ferguson, Morrisania D & T Center • Lynne Sanderson Burgess, Police Department • Sharon Greenaway, North Central Bronx Hospital • Lindella Artman, Queens Hospital Center • Stephen Nartey, Renaissance Healthcare Network • Kimberly Yeo, Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center & Home • Natalie Solomon, Segundo Ruiz Belvis D&TC • Judith Cutchin, Woodhull Medical & Mental Health Center
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