For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
POTSDAM, March 15, 2010 – Registered nurses at Canton-Potsdam Hospital say the need to recruit and retain RNs has never been more urgent. The emergency room is handling 3,000 more cases than it did two years ago. Yet the number of nurses on staff has remained the same.
The nurses are asking management to consider reducing the patient workload for graduate RNs, who are often still acquiring the necessary skills to provide effective patient care. Management, however, has refused.
“We want patients to be safe and new RNs to succeed, not be overwhelmed,” said Roger Bull, RN, nursing representative for the New York State Nurses Association, collective bargaining agent for the 150 RNs. “Yet the hospital said this would cause scheduling problems. This makes us question the hospital’s commitment to patient care.”
This is just one of the recruitment and retention issues the nurses are trying to resolve through their current contract talks, yet they’re being met with resistance by management. In response, the RNs will conduct an informational picket on Thursday, March 18, from 3 to 5 p.m., in front of the hospital at 50 Leroy Street in Potsdam, between Cottage and Grove streets. The nurses’ most-recent, four-year contract expired on Dec. 17, 2009.
Instead of working with the RNs on these issues, management came to the table demanding a freeze in the RNs’ pension. But when the nurses pressed for more information, the hospital admitted that switching to a 403 (b) plan would cost more money. The nurses add that since talks began, relations with management have become more contentious and the number of disciplines and grievances is on the increase.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.