At least 100 nurses and their supporters rallied in Washington Heights Wednesday morning, calling for more staffing at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
The nurses are demanding hospitals, in general, raise pay, do more to hold onto staff members and make working conditions safer.
One speaker at the rally said some nurses are taking care of 30 patients, while another said they care for up to 60 patients by themselves.
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) organized the rally.
The union said one in three nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have left since the summer. The group added that this comes as 2020 was already scheduled to be a big year for retirement.
According to the NYSNA, the staffing shortage is a combination of both retirement and pandemic burnout.
Several nurses told NY1 the staffing shortage means less quality care for patients, especially those in critical care.
The American Nurses Association sounded the alarm in early September regarding the shortage. It offered several remedies for the problem, including payment equity, and recruitment and retention incentives.
Nurses on Wednesday called this a crisis, saying nurses are being overworked.
“We have been asking for a traveling nurses. That’s number one, because traveling nurses have experience and they’ll be readily able to take care of patients,” said pediatric nurse Aretha Morgan. “So, we’ve been asking for traveling nurses and that’s even before COVID.”
Morgan added this is not a quick fix, and that they need more people to enter this profession, but that will take time because nursing school is a multi-year endeavor and it takes additional time to train people in a new job.
In a statement, New York-Presbyterian said, “As we continue to navigate unprecedented challenges associated with the pandemic, the wellbeing and safety of our patients and the community is always our top priority. We value our dedicated nurses and their contributions to the exceptional care we deliver every day, reflected in the recognition our hospital has received for clinical excellence and outstanding patient outcomes. Despite the national shortage of nurses, we are continuously attracting and adding skilled, caring nursing professionals to our incredible care teams.”