NEW YORK (PIX11) – The new year may start with fewer nurses at eight hospitals in New York City due to a possible strike that could start the second week of January.

Precious Valerio is worried about the quality of medical care her father is receiving at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. She said her main concern is that the nurses appear to be greatly outnumbered by the patients. 

“There are too many patients and not enough nurses. There are not enough people going around doing what they have to do,” Valerio said.

About 16,000 Nurses in New York City plan to strike if the eight hospitals they work at do not agree to hire more nurses and reach staffing levels they consider safe. 

On Friday, the nurses delivered a ten-day notice, which means the strike would begin on Jan. 9. The hospitals in question are New York-Presbyterian, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Michelle Jones works as a registered nurse at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

“You are caring for more patients than you possibly can. If your ratio needs to be 5-to-1 or 6-to-1, there are times when you are caring for 8-, 9- patients to 1 and you are unable to take your break at meal time,” Jones said.

Jones has been a nurse for nearly 35 years. She said the staffing shortage has been a problem for years, but it was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which also caused many of her colleagues to become traveling nurses for higher wages or leave the profession altogether.

Their union, the New York State Nurses Association, is also fighting for pay that is more compatible with cost of living in the five boroughs and better health benefits they believe would allow the hospitals to recruit and retain the staff. 

PIX11 News reached out to the hospitals for a comment but did not receive a response. However, representatives for New York-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai previously issued statements expressing respect for the nurses and hopes that an agreement will be reached.