NEW YORK NURSE: September 2011
by Mark Genovese
Registered nurses at St. Charles Hospital want management to demonstrate that it’s committed to safe staffing. The RNs are asking hospital officials to strengthen the current RN-to-patient staffing guidelines in their next contract.
Despite the documented positive impact of staffing guidelines on patient care, St. Charles management hasn’t supported the nurses’ call.
“Strong staffing guidelines are an important factor in establishing a workplace environment that encourages RN recruitment and retention,” said Mike Healy, president of the local bargaining unit. “Why won’t St. Charles show a commitment to be accountable to the community, as well as to its nursing staff, as a hospital of excellence?”
To place pressure on the hospital, more than 100 nurses and supporters took part in an informational picket in front of the Port Jefferson Hospital on July 13. The most recent, three-year contract for the 325 RNs expired on March 31. Other recruitment and retention issues the RNs are concerned about include wages that keep pace with inflation and affordable health insurance.