Dozens of nurses from across the state gathered in Albany for a press conference to echo a 21-year cry for legislation on safe-patient ratios. PEF President Wayne Spence spoke at the event, saying the union was concerned about nurse retention and recruitment. He also said patients who press the call button in a hospital have to wait an unacceptable amount of time for a nurse to respond, and that all studies have shown improved outcomes for patients and nurses when staffing levels are optimal.

PEF Region 11 Coordinator Jemma Marie-Hanson, a nurse at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, also addressed the group.

“PEF has nurses who work at hospitals, state Office of Mental Health facilities, prisons and teaching hospitals. Their message is, ‘We can no longer tolerate managers telling us ,”Do the best you can.” ‘ It is a human right to have good health care. It is a human right to make sure patients are cared for correctly. We need our Legislature and governor to work together with us to make sure all patients are receiving the best possible care that they deserve. We, as nurses, are devoted to providing a high standard of care.” Hanson said.

PEF will continue to support a bill on safe staffing ratios sponsored by Assembly Members Aileen Gunther and Richard Gottfried, and plan to lobby legislators on May 10th.