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Nurses Rally At The Erie County Medical Center In Buffalo, Call for Safe Staffing Legislation Passage In New York State

Published Thursday, February 25, 2021
by Ryan Whalen/Spectrum News, NYSNA News & WNYLaborToday.com Staff
Nurses Rally At The Erie County Medical Center In Buffalo, Call for Safe Staffing Legislation Passage In New York State

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – Nurses at Erie County Medical Center held a rally on Wednesday (February 24th) to call for the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to ensure that all patients across the state get the care they need and deserve.

The Bill is gaining more co-sponsors and momentum in Albany as the COVID-19 Pandemic underscores that safe staffing saves lives in hospitals and nursing homes.

A recent report by Attorney General Letitia James is the latest evidence that connects safe staffing and positive patient outcomes.

The central finding and core recommendation of the Attorney General’s report are that poor staffing was a major factor in the high death toll in nursing homes and that New York must enact enforceable, minimum staffing standards or hours of care per resident.

“Whether you’re a patient in a public hospital, a private hospital or a nursing home, you should have a right to safe, quality care,” NYSNA Board Member and Registered Nurse (RN) Chiqkena Collins said. “New York needs to enact minimum Safe Staffing Standards that apply to all facilities equally - regardless of their zip code to ensure all patients receive quality care.”

In an interview with Spectrum News, Sherry Thomas says she’s worked at the facility for 15 years and is currently in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit: "It's very stressful.  It's very toxic in a sense to where Nurses are just upset even with each other.  They ask you help but I can't come help you because I'm doing something with another patient."

She said there are regularly not enough Nurses to give patients the amount of attention she would like, a reality that weighs on even the strongest-willed: "I just feel like some days I want to just cry like I didn't do a good job.  I didn't have the patient long enough, you know what I mean and then you worry about the backlash of is there going to be any residual effect for the patient."

NYSNA’s Kena Collins said: "We have put these people (State Lawmakers) in positions of power to help us, not to get into power to forget about us.  We feel like we have (been) forgotten.  We feel like our patients have been forgotten."

The Bill also sets daily hours of care requirements for patients in nursing homes.

Steve Bailey, who works at Terrace View on the Erie County Medical Center Campus and has been a Nurse for three decades, said the lack of investment in long-term care started well before the pandemic: "What used to be minimum staffing is now our ideal staffing.  What used to be minimum staffing is now our daily staffing.  What used to be panic staffing is now our daily staffing and in the meantime ever-increasing responsibilities."

NYSNA - New York’s largest Union and Professional Association for Registered Nurses, represents more than 42,000 Members across the state.

For More On This Labor News Story, Go To: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/politics/2021/02/24/ecmc-nurses-rally-for-safe-staffing-legislation

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