Dozens of people filled the Regional Economic Center building of Cayuga Community College Tuesday night in support of Auburn Community Hospital nurses seeking an increase in staffing and safer working conditions.
Some spoke before Cayuga County legislators during the body's full meeting, asking for their support as the nurses represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East negotiate a new contract with the hospital.
"The nurses are burning out," said Kelly Ludeman, a registered nurse with ACH for 33 years. "The new nurses aren't staying. They're leaving. They're going to Syracuse where they can have five patients on their roll, or four patients, or six patients at most, where the staffing ratios are better."
Currently, she said, the hospital is utilizing a staffing grid that was created during contract negotiations about a decade ago. Since then, nursing has transformed, she said. Paperwork has turned electronic, positions have been cut and a larger workload falls into the laps of the bedside nurse.