NEW YORK — Madeline Hernandez has been a nurse for 16 years and has spent her entire career at one of Mount Sinai’s Manhattan locations.

But she says it is getting harder to go to work every day.

What You Need To Know

  • Nurses from Mount Sinai's Manhattan hospitals say they have growing concerns about the shortage of nurses

  • They say unfilled positions are creating dangerous situations for both staff and patients

  • The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) rallied with nurses outside of Mount Sinai West to call attention to the issue

  • This is the NYSNA's second organized rally in the last two months with nurses' concerns about staffing shortages

With her hospital short dozen of nurses, she believes she and the rest of her colleagues are spread too thin.

“It is really hard to be able to spend that time with a patient, at their bedside, when you know you just got two or three more patients, or you are being called into the trauma room to take care of patients who are coming who need your attention right away,” she explained.

Hernandez was one of the nurses who rallied outside of Mount Sinai West on Wednesday to bring attention to the conditions she called dangerous.

Labor and delivery nurse Lucy Einsenstein Waldman agrees. In her department, she says nurses are supposed to care for three newborns and their mothers; she says sometimes the number is as high as ten, which she says compromises patient care.

“If a patient has a crisis, there is a risk that she won’t get help in time," Einsenstein Waldman said. "If we can help the patients who are in dangerous positions, we need to, and right now we are challenged in doing so.”

According to the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), there are more than 100 unfilled nursing positions at Mount Sinai.

Hernandez said nearly 50 nurses in her department alone have left in the last few months. She says it's a combination of pandemic and short staff burnout, along with planned retirements. 2020 was anticipated to be a year of high retirements, and she says Mount Sinai and hospitals across the state should have been better prepared.

“This is not just a job; it is a calling. It is something we are called to do," Hernandez said. "We are not heroes; we are humans who genuinely care about the sick and injured and making them better.”

In a statement, Mount Sinai said, “Since the pandemic, Mount Sinai has fought for our nurses, from securing PPE, to providing bonuses that recognize their heroic efforts. Nurses are essential to providing the best medical care in the world and we are confident we will continue to attract and retain the talent we need.”

They say staffing issues are a nationwide problem but they are in a better position than most thanks to their recruiting efforts.


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