Nurses at Brooklyn Hospital took to the street on Wednesday morning to demand a larger nursing staff and an increase in the Fort Greene medical center’s “terrible” nurse-to-patient ratio.
The nurses’ contract — which requires one nurse for each six patients — expired on Tuesday, and the unionized nurses picketed along DeKalb Avenue the next day.
“The contract demands a one-to-six ratio, but we’ve never been able to get that,” said Joyce Cacave-Anderson, a nurse who has worked at the hospital for 32 years. She said the nurse-to-patient ratio is anywhere from one-to-eight to one-to-12.
“Some days, the nurses are so stressed out that they don’t even eat lunch,” she added. “It’s terrible.”
Hospital President Richard Becker has promised that he is working towards a new contract that would improve patient care.
“We have proposed wage increases that are tied to patient satisfaction, unrelated to nurse staffing ratios,” Becker wrote in a memo to the hospital’s staff on Wednesday.
Last March, the same union picketed in front of New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, demanding the same changes after nurses’ contracts there expired.