WAMC: Proposed Legislation Could Support Healthcare Workers in New York

Proposed legislation from State Senator Jake Ashby and State Assemblyman John McDonald was the focus of a news conference May 31 at the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing. The legislation would provide nurses who become preceptors with a $5,000 stipend.

Meredith Robison, chief nursing officer for St. Peter’s Health Partners Acute Care, Dr. Susan Birkhead, interim dean, St. Peter’s Health Partners’ Schools of Nursing, and Mary Loughlin, senior nursing student, all spoke during the event and were featured in a report on WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

From the story:

According to NYSED, there are more than 265,000 registered nurses in New York. Ashby says the legislation could help the state battle its severe staffing shortages and burnout in healthcare settings – incentivizing 1,000 preceptors.

“Every time somebody goes into the hospital or has an experience, right, whether it’s at an outpatient clinic, or inpatient or home care, right? They’re seeing this. It’s constant, right? Albany needs to see it,” Ashby said. “And not just at the bottom line, right? Of a budget, right? They need to recognize the importance of the human element here. And what’s going to happen to our health care system, if we don’t take care of the people who are working in it.”

Since 2019, the number of Registered Nurse licenses issued has grown, more than doubling from nearly 25,000 in 2022.

Meredith Robison is the Chief Nursing Officer for St. Peter’s Hospital and Samaritan Hospital.

“We look to lessen loads, you look at the acuity of the patients,” Robison said. “I’m gonna push back on the ratios a little bit, because a number is just a number, your patients are your patients. So, you want to make sure that you’re looking at the acuity, and you’re teaching them different things all of the time. So, you’re always going to be looking at that assignment and you’re always going to be looking to change because you want to continue to evolve that nurse into a strong bedside nurse.”

According to Robison, students at Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing spend an average of 12 weeks in clinical rotations with opportunities to get into pathway programs to specialize.

29-year-old Mary Loughlin is a senior at the college. She says she has gone through clinicals with supportive and unsupportive preceptors. She hopes this legislation would incentivize the professionals, creating better quality nurses.

“Like, having a good nurse really makes or breaks it, you’ll have the nurse that’s like, ‘All right, you’re my buddy. We’re doing it. I’m showing you everything we’re going to do today.’ And then you get some that are like, ‘You’re wasting my time, get away from me.’ So, you’re like, all right, like don’t want to bother you. But the Samaritan program in particular, I found that I’ve had really great nurses that want to show me,” Loughlin said.

Click here to listen to WAMC’s full report.

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