NEW YORK (PIX11) — Connie Questell’s husband, Americo, is currently being treated inside Montefiore’s cardiac ICU. She says he’s in good care.

“Thank god the heart unit has been covered very well by the traveling nurses,” said Connie. 

The couple’s son, Tuffy, said the travel nurses are clearly trying their hardest. 

“They hate crossing the picket lines, but they are trying to help one another because they know that the patients come first,” Tuffy said. 

Other hospital visitors told similar stories, commending the hard work of the travel nurses and expressing confidence in the their loved ones’ care. 

Connie Questell said she took her husband to the ER at Montefiore on Saturday, before the strike, when conditions were much different. 

“My husband’s nurse had 20 patients,” said Questell. “She was running around like a chicken with her head cut off.” 

“These nurses were looking so haggard and ragged,” continued Questell. “We ended up being down there eight hours because these nurses just couldn’t get to everybody right away. It was a madhouse in there. It was ugly.” 

More than 7,000 nurses remain on strike at Mount Sinai and Montefiore Bronx, protesting staffing levels. 

The nurses on strike recognize that the travel nurses have been thrown in a difficult situation, having to work in an unfamiliar hospital. 

“It’s going to be near impossible to run seamlessly,” said Montefiore nurse Avril Hanley. “You can’t just pick up and run. You can’t.” 

“The hospital is new for them, it’s new to them,” said Montefiore case manager Lois Campbell. “Yes, they are nurses as well, and they care, but they cannot handle it. It’s just too much for them. They’re just outsiders.” 

Nurses say they want to go back to work but will remain on strike – unpaid – until Mount Sinai and Montefiore guarantee safe staffing levels. There are currently more than 700 open nursing positions at Montefiore, and 550 openings at Mount Sinai.