Nurses from a pair of the Big Apple’s largest hospitals have been on strike this week in order to bring attention to a need for better pay and, perhaps more importantly, increased staffing.
What they’re saying
The New York State Nurses Association is representing the roughly 7,000 striking nurses and insists that the status quo is harmful not only to healthcare staff but all of the patients in need of quality services.
“Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients,” the union stated.
The root causes
After many burned-out nurses walked away from the profession during the pandemic, many of the vacancies created at that time have yet to be filled.
As a result, there are reportedly hundreds of nursing positions at just the two aforementioned hospitals that are still open — with some frightening ramifications. Some of those on strike have offered a glimpse into the situation, such as expecting one nurse to care for a dozen or more patients at a time.
A widespread concern
While New York City is getting most of the attention due to the ongoing strike, American Nurses Association President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy said that nurses in that city aren’t alone.
The complaints being voiced by striking workers “reflect the experiences and feelings of many nurses nationwide,” she said, adding that nurses have been “experiencing many of these challenges for decades.”
Identifying a problem is a good first step, but nurses and the patients they serve need a solution. While that’s easier said than done, the ANA is leading the charge to help recruit new nurses to the profession and make it a job that they’ll want to keep for the remainder of their careers.