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NY Nurses Allege Understaffing Hampers Patient Care in Bronx ERs


Friday, December 10, 2021   

BRONX, N.Y. -- New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) members continue to speak out, with allegations of understaffing in New York City hospitals, and they are calling for more rapid hires at multiple locations in the Bronx.

Benny Mathew, director at-large of NYSNA and an ER nurse at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, said recruiting and retaining nurses was hard even before the pandemic. Now, he claimed patient care is compromised even further, by low staffing and lack of space.

"Most of the time, they are having over 120, 140 patients in the ER," Mathew explained. "So, that means patients are packed like sardines. There is no privacy, you know - when the doctor or the nurse is talking to the patient, everyone else around the patient is listening to everything."

In response to the allegations, a Bronx Montefiore spokesperson maintained they "work every day to fill any vacancies and explore new recruitment and retention strategies." A rally held outside Montefiore Moses yesterday capped off a month of demonstrations at different New York City hospitals to draw attention to the staffing allegations.

Mathew pointed out one part of the problem is an incredibly high turnover rate at the hospital, even among temporary nurses.

"If a new nurse comes through our emergency room, she or he can have 20 or more patients," Mathew observed. "And it is really traumatic for that person, and they end up quitting after a few weeks."

Mathew also lives in the Bronx, and noted while he loves helping his community, working in understaffed conditions comes at a great personal cost.

"Your personal relationships can get damaged, your attitude can change, your behavior can change, you're always frustrated," Mathew asserted. "So, it does have a negative personal effect on me."

Come January, every hospital in New York must establish minimum staffing standards for intensive and critical care units under a new state law.

Disclosure: New York State Nurses Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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