New York’s largest nurses union has affiliated with the largest nurses union nationwide.
The New York State Nurses Association voted to affiliate with National Nurses United to help numerous nurses gain better working conditions in their respective hospitals.
This comes amid growing union efforts among nurses and other medical staffers, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagans said the affiliation with NNU was an obvious decision.
“We have 42,000 members. NNU represents 180,000 professional nurses,” said Hagans. “So, with us affiliated with them, we became bigger and stronger, and in the labor movement, where there are numbers, there’s power.”
Hagans said nurse-to-patient ratios need to be addressed first. She said other things needed are resources to educate communities about self-care and certain illnesses.
She hopes affiliating with NNU will allow nurses to work without the continuing strain of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects.
According to a survey done by Nurses.org, more than 80% of nurses felt burnt out, underpaid, frustrated with administrators, and are dealing with mental-health challenges.
Only 12% of nurses were happy with what they were doing.
Hagans explained what nurses have dealt with in the pandemic.
“Some of us worked, seven days a week, not seeing our families,” said Hagans. “And remember we also put our families at risk. We worked when there was no vaccine, we didn’t have enough PPE. But, when you become a nurse, we put our communities first, our patients first.”
She added that nurses just want to be nurses, and provide the best patient care they can. But, proper equipment and time to process what happened during the pandemic would aid them in doing their work.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.