Olean General Hospital, nurses square off over staffing

Nurses at Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital say there's a staffing crisis at the facility and are demanding that administrators fix the problem, according to the Olean Times Herald.

The hospital counters that the nurses complaints are unwarranted and part of a union agenda to get nurse staffing ratios passed statewide.

The understaffing allegation comes from members of the Olean chapter of the New York State Nurses Association, which represents about 200 Olean Hospital registered nurses.

A petition being circulated by union members says, "short staffing puts patients at risk" and the hospital administration "must take bold action to ensure safe patient care," according to the report.

Nurses have been seeking signatures of  hospital employees and community members.

Olean Hospital nurse Trevor Moore added in a statement to the Times Herald that recent layoffs and other job losses at the hospital are making the staffing problem worse.

But the hospital disputed nurses' claims.

Hospital spokesperson Dennis McCarthy told the Times Herald nurses are taking on more patients than normal due to a seasonal patient volume increase and isolated job vacancies, but "there is no staffing crisis at Olean General Hospital, and there are no issues with quality and safety."

He said the hospital is actively recruiting staff and expects to have about 30 new nurse graduates begin working this spring. He also said that 16 laid-off employees were not in bedside nursing positions.

Mr. McCarthy told the Times Herald the union's petition is "less about staffing at OGH" and "more about the start of a heavily orchestrated annual public campaign and a larger statewide union political agenda to promote the passage of staffing ratio legislation in Albany."


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