Nurses rally at ‘Day of Action’ at Brooklyn Borough Hall

May 6, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Interfaith nurses Ari Moma, left, and Stella Banjo, right, stand with Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. Eagle photos by Mary Frost
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Nurses from Brooklyn and Staten Island, elected officials and advocates rallied at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday to celebrate National Nurses Day by participating in a “Day of Action.”

Friday’s event was one of six regional rallies calling for the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act (S.782/A.8580-A), a bipartisan bill in the state Legislature.

Currently, no law exists to place a limit to how many patients a nurse can care for at one time.

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“The bottom line is that fewer nurses means worse outcomes,” Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) told the Brooklyn Eagle. Gottfried is co-sponsor of the bill with Aileen Gunther from Rockland County. “More nurses means better outcomes and saving lives. To me, that counts more than anything else.

“Nurses are by far the most important people if you’re in a hospital or a nursing home,” he added. “The adequacy of nursing care is the single most important thing.”

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) says that New York nurses are being forced to handle more than a dozen patients at one time. According to NYSNA, studies show the risk of patient death increases by 7 percent for each new patient a nurse must care for.

Julie Semente, a Brooklyn critical care RN and a member of NYSNA, told the Eagle, “Safe staffing saves lives. Your well-being in the hospital is at risk when there are not enough nurses. And the nurses that are there are taking care of too many patients at once. It’s a serious issue, and we have been fighting for legislation that would require a minimum number of nurses, with a limit on how many patients they can take care of at one time.”

When nurses take care of too many patients, “things fall through the cracks,” Semente added. “We need the legislation so it’s not up to individual administrators on how we are going to be managing our patients.”


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