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NYSNA-Represented Nurses ‘Blow The Whistle’ Over ‘Under-Staffing’ At Olean General Hospital: File 753 Complaints Signed By 2,820 Nurses At The Southern Tier Hospital, Say It ‘Underscores The Need To Pass The Safe Staffing For Quality Care Act’

Published Thursday, March 11, 2021
by NYSNA News
NYSNA-Represented Nurses ‘Blow The Whistle’ Over ‘Under-Staffing’ At Olean General Hospital: File 753 Complaints Signed By 2,820 Nurses At The Southern Tier Hospital, Say It ‘Underscores The Need To Pass The Safe Staffing For Quality Care Act’

(OLEAN, NEW YORK) - The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) says 753 complaints were filed by Nurses to hospital management involving understaffing at Olean General Hospital in 2019 and 2020 - including a total of 2,820 Nurse signatures that appear on the complaints because multiple signatures are allowed on each complaint.

These numbers are included in the 26,219 total complaints of understaffing statewide, signed by a total of 97,715 Nurses, during the past two years, NYSNA said.

The complaints are called Protests of Assignment (POA) and are formal complaints given to hospital management, Union Officials said.

The large number of complaints is further proof that Albany lawmakers must pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to ensure that all patients across New York State get the care they need and deserve, said the Statewide Union that represents more than 42,000 Members.

The Nurse descriptions that accompany the POAs tell a troubling story of what is really going on inside New York hospitals.

One Nurse writes: Units 3A/3B combined.  All Nurses at 7-8 patients each; Charge nurse fully assigned with 7-8 patients.  Several confused patients/high fall risk/alarms.  Several tube feeds.  Several wounds/dressing changes

Another Nurse writes: One Nurse, no Ancillary Staff present.  8 well babies, 1 babe in NICU on oxygen and IV, one well babe with IV in place, many admissions evening through night with only one Nurse present 7 p.m.-7 a.m.

“Understaffing truly affects the patients and the Nurses at Olean General Hospital,” said Kathleen Neeson, a Registered Nurse (RN) who works in the Cardiac Unit at Olean General Hospital.

“There have been times when I had to care for fourteen patients at once - far exceeding what was contractually agreed to.  We’re constantly jumping from patient to patient and there are times when we have little time to properly check vitals, respond to emergencies, or even use the bathroom,” Neeson said.

These types of stories are coming in everyday from across the state, NYSNA said.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has underscored the point that safe staffing saves lives in hospitals and nursing homes, the Union said.

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.

To Directly Access This Labor News Story, Go To: www.nysna.org/press/2021/over-700-official-complaints-filed-nurses-about-understaffing-olean-general-hospital-last#.YEkqWOhKiiM

And For More On NYSNA’s Fight For Safe Staffing, Go To campaignforpatientsafety.org.

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