Distraught LICH nurses turn to yoga, zumba to keep morale up

Distraught LICH nurses turn to yoga, zumba to keep morale up

Facing unemployment, the medical staff of Long Island College Hospital is taking a deep breath and saying ‘om.”

The New York State Nurses Association is asking yoga instructors, zumba teachers, and others to share skills or their area of expertise in order to boost the morale of the hospital’s caregivers.

Several weeks ago, the State University of New York defied a court order and amputated the trouble institution by cutting off ambulance service to its emergency room.

“In an effort to keep spirits up, we are planning classes at the hospital for the dedicated NYSNA and 1199 [union] members [who] continue to staff the hospital and are reporting for duty day and night,” said Michelle Green, a member of the Nurse’s Association, in an email to involved community members.

Eliza Bates, a spokeswoman for the New York State Nurses Association, said that the union was also going to be giving continuing-education classes for nurses at the hospital. Now that the state is diverting patients from the hospital, she said, nurses have some downtime, making these classes possible.

But why the exercise classes? It’s simply because the hospital staff could use some endorphins right now, she said.

“This is a very stressful time for the community, for the nurses, for the caregivers, so this is a time to work together to do something positive while still keeping up the fight to keep the hospital open,” Bates said.

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge said that the State University was likely in contempt of court, which temporarily forbade the school from taking any action to close down the hospital. The state university, however, said that it needed to shut down emergency room service because there weren’t enough doctors at Long Island College Hospital to provide adequate care.

The State University of New York will have to prove that it is not breaking a court order at its next hearing, scheduled for July 15.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.