Page 11 - Work Force February 2022
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ers stay dedicated
try to to be patient and to to help you It’s just than all of us us would like — Mathew L Cantore
At SUNY Downstate Omicron worsens staff shortages BROOKLYN — While the latest COVID Omicron variant and infection rate
is not as as deadly as as the original surge battle-tested and beleaguered health care workers at at SUNY Downstate are are clamoring for more staff Remington
patients since cafeteria staff are not allowed in in fin those rooms “[To meet staffing demands] they have to bring bring fin in in in staf staff from from other hospitals and bring bring people from from other other units ” Remington
said CSEA is working with New York state to address understaffing at at health care and and other facilities The COVID pandemic has shined a a a a a a a a a a light on structural staffing deficits that existed before the pandemic Much of those deficits stem from an an inability to to recruit new workers due to to low starting wages worsened by the crushing demands of mandatory overtime Last fall CSEA had reached an an agreement with the state to provide a a a a a a a a temporary overtime increase of 2 5 times the workers’ regular pay in in eligible titles at at at SUNY SUNY Downstate as as well as as SUNY SUNY SUNY Upstate
in in Syracuse and and SUNY SUNY Stony Brook
on on on Long Island The increases have since been put into place in in in in other state agencies While the the Omicron variant isn’t claiming as many lives and the the hospital is not filled with patients on on on on ventilators Remington
said conditions at at the the hospital seem worse since there aren’t enough workers to deal with patients “I place myself in the the the position of the the the the patient patient or if the the the the patient patient were my mother ” ” said Remington
“I am dedicated
to to doing what is right ” ” During some of the the the darkest days of of the the the pandemic the the the hospital was declared COVID-only refrigerated containers were used as morgues and one day within the span of 15 minutes Remington
recalled 10 patients died Many who worked through the pandemic pandemic she said retired or or quit and and and haven’t been replaced The pandemic pandemic has also taken an an an emotional and and mental health toll on workers While COVID deaths have dropped significantly due to to the the the vaccine the the the majority of the the the patients coming to to SUNY Downstate for treatment now haven’t been vaccinated Remington
said “I was crying every day ” Remington
said of of the the height of of the the pandemic — David Galarza
“It’s a a a a a a stressful situation because there is is so much to to do ” said Deborah Remington
a a a a a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who often works in in in the unit assigned to COVID patients “There is no way that you can provide services for all those patients in in eight hours ” Remington
a a a a a two-time cancer survivor who hasn’t been infected with the the virus to date said the the average number of patients per CNA should be be about eight or or nine Currently there is only one CNA for an average of 28 patients which requires checking vital signs bathing and often feeding
through the American Rescue Plan Fuchs said that while recruitment bonuses are important incentives to compensate workers who’ve been on on the the job during the the pandemic will not only reward workers but hopefully retain them That is especially important at at at Valley View which has struggled to retain and attract staff Kukys said the nursing shortage at at Valley View is representative of a a a a a a a problem plaguing the the entire country A shortage existed before the the pandemic but has been exacerbated by people leaving this career field due to working conditions “Nurses are leaving the the the profession because of of the the the way they’re treated ” said Kukys “We’re beaten down and we we we feel like we we we can’t do do do any more than we’re doing now Most other professions you can close down but we just don’t have that option ” — Jessica Ladlee
Orange Orange County County Unit President President Denise Fuchs and Orange Orange County County Local President President Rosemarie Kukys thank their
co-workers for their
service in 2020 11
The Work Force February 2022 February 2022 The Work Force 

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