1000’s of nurses started putting Monday at two of New York Metropolis’s largest hospitals. They’ve already disrupted affected person care, however nurses say they will not return till they get a good contract.
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:
1000’s of nurses started putting in the present day at two of New York Metropolis’s largest hospitals, Montefiore Medical Middle and Mount Sinai Hospital. The strikes have already disrupted affected person care, however nurses say they will not return to work till they get a good contract. We’re now going to talk with Caroline Lewis, a well being care reporter at WNYC. Hello, Caroline.
CAROLINE LEWIS, BYLINE: Hello.
SUMMERS: So, Caroline, what are nurses at these hospitals combating for?
LEWIS: Nicely, you realize, pay will increase and well being advantages are each on the desk. However the largest sticking level right here, and what nurses say is most vital, is best staffing. So each of those hospitals are providing wage will increase of practically 20% over three years. And that is just like what different New York Metropolis hospitals have supplied which have managed to achieve contract offers and keep away from a strike in current days. However the nurses’ union says that these remaining hospitals have to this point refused to decide to the concrete, nurse-to-patient staffing ratios that they are asking for. And in order that’s actually what’s holding up these talks.
SUMMERS: So the staffing points that we’re speaking about right here, are they new, are these a consequence of the pandemic, or are these current points?
LEWIS: Nicely, I feel understaffing has been a continual concern at some hospitals. And nurses have lengthy talked about how that may endanger affected person care. However these challenges have positively been exacerbated by the pandemic. Plenty of nurses have left the occupation altogether or have left their hospitals in favor of extra profitable journey or short-term nursing positions. And hospitals now need to compete with these wages once they’re making an attempt to recruit and retain everlasting nurses. They usually’re – you realize, because it stands, there’s at present a whole lot of unfilled nursing positions at each Montefiore and Mount Sinai.
SUMMERS: After I hear you say a whole lot of unfilled nursing positions, it makes me marvel how affected person care has been impacted by these strikes. Are you able to inform us about that?
LEWIS: Yeah. So, you realize, each of those hospitals, you realize, are bringing in short-term employees in the course of the strikes, which, you realize, will be very costly. However there’s nonetheless a giant disruption to affected person care. You understand, each of those hospitals started suspending elective surgical procedures within the days main as much as the strikes and started discharging as many sufferers as they may or, you realize, transferring sufferers. Mount Sinai stated that it was transferring its neonatal intensive care unit, you realize, sufferers like newborns, to different services to maintain them protected. Montefiore stated it was rescheduling outpatient visits. So, you realize, there’s a large disruption, and town has stated that it is working to reroute ambulances in order that they take sufferers to different hospitals.
SUMMERS: And, Caroline, the place do talks stand now? Is there an finish in sight?
LEWIS: Nicely, as of noon in the present day, talks have been in progress at Montefiore, however they have been stalled at Mount Sinai. You understand, Mount Sinai had stated that the nurses’ union left the negotiating desk late final night time, and the talks nonetheless haven’t resumed. However nurses on the picket line appeared energized. You understand, they stated they have been unhappy that it had come to this however thought it was obligatory to guard sufferers in the long term.
SUMMERS: Well being care reporter Caroline Lewis of WNYC. Caroline, thanks a lot.
LEWIS: Thanks for having me.
(SOUNDBITE OF ANDERSON .PAAK SONG, “FIRE IN THE SKY”)
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its remaining kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might range. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.