nyc nurse shortages

NYC Nurses Sound Alarm Over Staffing Shortages at Mt. Sinai Hospital Campuses

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What to Know

  • Dozens of nurses at Mount Sinai West — joined by colleagues from the Morningside Heights campus  — rallied Wednesday saying they are overworked due to a staff shortage.
  • Mount Sinai does not deny staffing is a challenge. However, the hospital says it is a challenge that affects most hospitals across the country.
  • Last month, more than 100 nurses rallied outside of New York-Presbyterian Hospital to call attention to what they say is a dire nursing shortage.

Dozens of nurses at Mount Sinai West — joined by colleagues from the Morningside Heights campus  — rallied Wednesday saying they are overworked due to a staff shortage.

“We are here to say enough is enough," Nella Pineda, a nurse, said at the rally, which took place around lunchtime near West 58th Street and Tenth Avenue.

The nurses’ union says members are overworked and that the hospital is failing when it comes to staff retention and recruitment — putting patient care at risk. 

However, the hospital faced these logistical challenges even before the pandemic.

“They decided to freeze the positions because some of our nurses got sick. Some retired.  Remember, before the surge, we were at a low point," NYSNA Union President Nancy Hagans said.

Mount Sinai does not deny staffing is a challenge. However, the hospital says it is a challenge that affects most hospitals across the country.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mount Sinai, said in part: “Mount Sinai has fought for our nurses, from securing PPE, to providing bonuses that recognize their heroic efforts...we are confident we will continue to attract and retain the talent we need.”

However, Kiera Downes-Fogel, a labor and delivery nurse, says staffing promises are being broken — and that patient care could be, at best, slowed down.

“If you have 12, 13 nurses on a day shift - it’s a good day.  And the number should be 17! It should be 17," Downes-Fogel said.

“On labor and delivery, we sometimes have to make people wait a really long time when they are not the most urgent person," she went on to say.

The union says current numbers show that both Mount Sinai West and Morningside Heights campuses have more than 100 open nursing positions.

The hospital did not immediately deny — or confirm — that number.

Another Mount Sinai hospital campus has faced a dilemma due to staffing shortage. The Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department was forced to close down for a few days last week due to nursing staff shortages occurring as a result of the state vaccine mandate. It reopened last Friday.

It is unclear if the mandate is also playing a role in the nursing shortage plaguing both Mount Sinai West and Morningside Heights campuses.

Staffing issues have also impacted other hospital systems in the area. Last month, more than 100 nurses rallied outside of New York-Presbyterian Hospital to call attention to what they say is a dire nursing shortage.

Dozens of nurses gathered on Wednesday morning outside of New York-Presbyterian Hospital to call attention to nursing shortages. NBC New York's Romney Smith reports.
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