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Nurses’ Strike Ends

Well that ended quickly! The nurses’ strike at Mount Sinai Hospital and three different Montefiore Hospitals in the Bronx  ended after three days, and nurses returned to work on Thursday at 7:00 a.m.

The President of the New York State Nurses Association, Nancy Hagans, RN, issued a statement calling it a “historic victory for New York City nurses and for nurses across the country.” The strike was primarily focused on safe staffing ratios for nurses and patients, and Hagans said these will take effect immediately “for all inpatient units with firm enforcement so that there will always be enough nurses at the bedside to provide safe patient care.”

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In a statement, Mount Sinai said the new agreement was “fair and responsible” and “puts patients first.” The deal reportedly also includes a 19.1 percent wage increase over three years and will add over 170 new nursing positions.

The New York Times points out that only the state of California has a mandated nurse-patient ratio law of four nurses for every emergency room patient, and five for every regular patient. The National Nurses United organization goes even further, recommending a 3:1 ratio for every emergency room patient and 4:1 for every inpatient. Nurses we spoke with at Mount Sinai told us they routinely have to take care of nine patients at once.

The main hurdle which has prevented the adoption of safe staffing ratios (up until now) has been the cost of hiring more nurses. Research cited by NYSNA, however, states that when ratios improved in California, hospital incomes increased dramatically, nurse turnover decreased, and patient satisfaction went up. And while Mount Sinai is a non-profit hospital, that cost is definitely paramount, given the $241 net loss the hospital reported for the first nine months of 2022.


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