January 29, 2023

Nurses maintain indicators outdoors Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on Monday, the primary day of the strike.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Pictures

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Michael M. Santiago/Getty Pictures

Nurses maintain indicators outdoors Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on Monday, the primary day of the strike.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Pictures

Nurses at two of New York’s largest hospitals have been on strike for 3 days over contract negotiations.

Greater than 7,000 nurses from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Heart within the Bronx took half within the strike this week. They demand not solely increased salaries, but additionally higher staffing.

“Our superiors pushed us to go on strike by refusing to noticeably contemplate our proposals to deal with the determined disaster of unsafe workers who’re harming our sufferers,” mentioned New York State Nurses Affiliation, a union representing employees.

There are a whole bunch of unfilled nursing positions on the two putting hospitals, WNYC reporter Caroline Lewis informed NPR on Monday. Many nurses, depleted by the COVID-19 pandemic, have left their jobs in favor of extra worthwhile journey nurses or have left the career altogether.

Placing employees say their hospitals have failed to rent and retain sufficient nurses, resulting in shortages that cut back the standard of affected person care. They talked about beds being left in crowded corridors and nurses being pressured to look after dozens of sufferers without delay.

Staffing issues aren’t distinctive to New York Metropolis, and one Mount Sinai official known as it a “nationwide staffing disaster.” As well as, an ageing inhabitants is placing pressure on the nation’s well being care system as an entire, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that the US will want greater than 275,000 extra nurses from 2020 to 2030.

Jennifer Mencik Kennedy is President of the American Nurses Affiliation, knowledgeable group. Emphasizing that the strike is a final resort, she mentioned. morning version on Wednesday that the actions being taken in New York “mirror the experiences and emotions of many nurses throughout the nation.”

“What is going on right now is that these work surroundings points predate COVID-19, and nurses have been coping with many of those points for many years,” she mentioned. “And the present pressure of COVID-19 and different public well being emergencies have solely exacerbated many of those current points and challenges.”

She spoke with NPR’s Duane Brown concerning the roots of the issue and what it takes to repair it.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

Interview Highlights

On the systemic issues that gave rise to a scarcity of personnel

Traditionally, for a lot of many years we now have skilled a scarcity of nurses. And proper now we now have an ageing inhabitants, we now have ageing child boomers. We’ve got many choices for nurses – for girls – to decide on a special career. And we do not have sufficient academics to draw these nursing college students. We had… lots of people who wished to go to nursing college, for instance, however simply could not get into nursing college as a result of there simply wasn’t sufficient house…

… Usually new registered nurses earn greater than their academics who prepare them. Subsequently, we should clear up such issues. Why would anybody need to come and educate when their new registered nurses will probably be making more cash than they’re proper out of college?

On what hospitals can do to stop shortages

We undoubtedly want extra nurses. However what we discovered [over] many years of analysis and applications is that when we now have a very good working surroundings for nurses, the place nurses are valued, listened to and nurses can present high quality and protected care, these hospitals, these organizations don’t expertise the scarcity that different hospitals have. do. There are answers organizations can put in place to draw nurses and retain nurses. And nurses will work in organizations the place they really feel valued and really feel that on the finish of the day, on the finish of this shift, they have been capable of present high quality care to folks.

What’s going to the long run resolution appear to be?

The American Nurses Affiliation shares the frustration of nurses with the dearth of options. And we have actually labored with the choice makers within the organizations and on the nationwide degree to say, you already know, we actually have to work by means of and deal with the protection points. We want to consider how we will resolve the right way to get extra nurses into departments and clear up the trainer scarcity. And we additionally want to have a look at the work surroundings and encourage nurses to stay nurses and never depart the career. And we wish nurses to remain nurses all through their careers. So these are three areas that I believe we might actually give attention to to make sustainable change.

The audio for this story was produced by Julie Depenbrock and Chad Campbell and edited by John Helton.

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