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"A Pandemic ‘Is Not A Time For Understaffing Or Cutting Corners’ - NYSNA-Represented Nurses Target The Albany Medical Center For A December 1st Strike Over "Atrocious Staffing" Levels And "Substandard PPE"

Published Sunday, November 29, 2020
by, NYSNA News & Staff

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) – Nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) at the Albany Medical Center have announced plan to go on Strike for one day on December 1st over "atrocious staffing" levels and "substandard PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)" and other conditions that they believe undercuts safe patient care and threatens potential harm to Nurses and their colleagues.

"We delivered our ten-day notice to management.  It says that we will Strike for one day on December 1st.  ‘This is not something we set out to do, what we set out to do was make absolutely certain that our patients get the treatment they need and the quality care that they deserve,’" said Albany Stat Nurse Lenore Granich-Berghela.

The NYSNA-represented Nurses are demanding critical improvements in staffing and infection control as the hospital continues fighting a second wave of COVID-19.  Hundreds of Hospital Staff - including almost 500 Nurses - have left the Albany Medical Center over the course of time due to hospital conditions in what one Nurse called a “hospital coming apart at the seams.”

"A pandemic ‘is not a time for understaffing or cutting corners.’  ‘For failing to supply us with equipment we need for our protection and also to keep our patients safe, it has created an unsafe working environment.’  ‘Some of you may ask how can you Strike?’  ‘Patients are in need and there's a pandemic.’  ‘To this I can only say, yes patients are in need.’  ‘We cannot meet that nerd unless management recognizes its own obligation to patient care.’  Nurses once again voted in overwhelming majority to reject Albany Med's contract proposal ‘that completely ignores retention to improve staffing and ensure patient safety.’  ‘It was insulting and Albany Med should be ashamed,’" Granich-Berghela said.

NYSNA continues to raise the red flag on three issues in particular:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls for masks to be re-used only if there is not a 90-day supply of equipment.  New York State says all hospitals must have a 90-day supply and the Albany Medical Center says it has a 90-day supply. The question is: why are hospital executives forcing Nurses to re-use masks up to 20 times?

Albany Medical Center must stop moving patients from floor-to-floor without getting the results of a COVID test back.  Measures must be taken to make sure that the virus is not spreading from floor to floor, unit to unit.  So then, NYSNA asks, is the Albany Medical Center mixing patient populations in a way that could easily spread the virus?

The Albany Medical Center created a Nurse to Patient Crisis Staffing Ratio that they are now actively violating.  NYSNA said hospital officials deemed this essential in the Spring for proper patient care, so it should remain essential for the Fall surge.

NYSNA Officials believe these practices create an immediate threat of harm to both Nurses and patients and should be immediately remedied and say hospital officials must address their health and safety concerns and settle a fair contract that protects patients and Nurses.

NYSNA is New York State’s largest Union and Professional Association for Registered Nurses and represents more than 42,000 Members.

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