MORRIS PARK, the Bronx — Public health nurses demanded better working conditions during a Thursday rally outside Jacobi medical Center.
They said they still don’t have the resources they need nearly two years into a global pandemic. Nurse Kelley Cabrera said emergency rooms are overflowing.
“Just this week here we’ve had upwards of 40 patients waiting for beds and with the current crisis with COVID, it’s just adding more and more of a strain,” Cabrera said.
Nurse after nurse described the frustrating conditions they endure. Karen Lam said she’s expected to fill multiple roles.
“I simply can’t,” Lam said. “I can’t do it.”
Many have resigned in the faces of overcrowding and delays. They’re tired, NY State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagan said.
“It’s not because we don’t want to care for our patients. We’re tired. We can’t take it anymore,” Hagan said.
Nurses said they were barely able to accommodate the victims from Sunday’s deadly Bronx fire. They claim they’ve had to return to work even when showing COVID symptoms.
“Nurses are being advised to return to work yet they’re still symptomatic,” Queens Hospital Center nurse Reginald Atangan said. “Yet they’re still expected to care for your dad, your mom, sister, your brother, your daughter.”
They’re calling for a change in the health care system.
“In New York we need to pass the New York Health Act, we need single-payer health care, across the country we need Medicare for all,” Cabrera said.
The New York Health Act is currently in a Senate Committee and elected officials say it could be up to six months until any progress is made, but these nurses say they need help now.