The nurses at New York Methodist Hospital are understaffed and overworked because administrators are violating a contractual obligation to provide enough medical workers, the state’s largest nurses union alleged this week.
The New York State Nurses Association said that the administration of the venerable hospital on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope is required to have at least one nurse for every six patients — but nurses claim that the hospital is actually providing only one RN for every 14 customers in some wings.
“When hospital management short-staffs a unit, it puts the patients at risk and creates difficult working conditions for the staff left to carry the extra patient load,” said union rep Elaine Charpentier. “Meanwhile, the hospital saves money on the salaries of the missing nurses.”
That said, the hospital brass says it is not in breach of the contract.
“Our data shows we’re in compliance with the contractual guidelines,” said Lyn Hill, a spokeswoman for New York Methodist, who suggested that the union is miscalculating the staffing levels.
She added that the nurses union is simply “using the press” to ratchet up the debate as new contract negotiations come to a head this fall.
Hill said that the average salary for nurses at the hospital is $85,000.
This isn’t the first time that the issue of understaffing at New York Methodist has reared its head. Last year, nurses complained that the nurse-to-patient ratio had gotten to one-to-10.