Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development and Workforce: Good morning, everybody. It is so fantastic to be here. My name is Maria Torres Springer, I’m the deputy mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce, and today I’m just filled with, first of all, just so much inspiration. Look at all the incredible humans right behind me, a huge round of applause, please.
I’m also filled with a lot of optimism, and that is really driven by the momentum from last week. As many of you might know, New York City recently made history in reaching 4.7 million jobs, a record high in our 400 year history.
Before we get into it, I do want to acknowledge the amazing partners. You’re going to hear from them today, but we are wildly fortunate to be joined by incredible partners across government. I want to acknowledge Councilmembers Chris Marte and Mercedes Narcisse, who are here with us today.
Thank you so much. I know that Councilmember Narcisse is a registered nurse, so amazing. And now we’re also joined by my sister deputy mayor, our true hero in the administration, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom. And DM Anne’s mom also spent many decades as a nurse, so I know that this event is also personal to her, so thank you, DM Anne, for being here today.
As I mentioned earlier, we reached this jobs record last week, and what that means is that we have recovered nearly one million jobs. Those are the jobs lost during the pandemic. It’s really a milestone that represents not just the city’s resilience, but the resilience of New Yorkers.
And to celebrate that, our mayor has kicked off a Working People’s Tour to highlight the individuals, the programs and the projects that are really powering our economic recovery. And we really couldn’t think of a better place to start this tour, to make our first stop, than this event, because today we are gathering to celebrate the Citywide Nurse Residency Program and the achievements of the nurses who are part of this initiative.
Since Covid, thousands — thousands — of working men and women have joined this program. Now, we know that this was an especially hard time for newly licensed nurses really transitioning into their first jobs in clinical practice. Then and now, the residency creates an environment for people who represent the true diversity of our city to stay in a profession that really needs them.
The residency supports early career nurses at our city hospitals, especially at our public H + H hospitals where the program has been championed by nurses’ leadership. Let’s please give a round of applause again to all the wonderful partners and New Yorkers who are part of this program.
Before handing it on to the mayor, I want to just thank a few more people in the room who made this program happen. Thank you to the Greater New York Hospital Association and our hospital partners, nursing leaders and staff across the city who really make this work happen on the ground.
And very close to home, I want to thank the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare — also known as NYACH — led by Daniel Liss, really that’s the healthcare industry partnership within the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development. So, this team really helps drive our agenda to support working people in healthcare and beyond, including by meeting the consortium of public and private partners in support of this work.
I just want to emphasize that again: this program is a true public/private partnership, one of the many examples of the good work that comes from the type of cross-sector collaboration that our mayor welcomes and encourages.
And speaking of our mayor, I’m so happy to be able to introduce to you our fearless leader, the person who really pushes us to do more, not just for nurses but for every working New Yorker across every borough of the city. Join me in welcoming the 110th mayor of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, who’s really a part of this overall energetic move forward to, one, continue to employ New Yorkers; but two, to highlight the roles and jobs that New Yorkers are carrying out as the city functions.
Many people are used to getting up seeing their trash picked up, calls for services when you have a medical crisis, watching our transportation system operate. We’re used to these things so automatically without understanding, many major cities across the globe don’t have this level of professionalism and this level of actual implementation.
And that is what we have here in New York City. Many people debate, I see it over and over again. People talk about the second and third city when the global leaders come here, no one debates or talks about the first and number one greatest city in the globe, and that’s New York City. There’s no getting around that. We are the best, and these men and women behind me are the best at what they do.
Two eye opening experiences happen for me. You could be a part of a professional life but don’t really understand what your colleagues are doing in their professional capacity. And the second eye opening experience happened when I became mayor and I responded to the fire in the Bronx. And the next day, I returned to walk through and I saw the halls and walls were full with soot, and the firefighters had to crawl around on their hands and knees in an environment that they were not used to to find bodies.
It was just unbelievable how challenging that job is. It’s not just pulling out a hose and putting water on a fire. It takes a level of courage, and what happens throughout their careers is just something that I just started to dig into and learn more.
But the first eye opening experience for me was during 9/11. I moved into my office during that time because I wanted to respond throughout the night. I was the borough president. And I went by the hospitals and I saw the job that nurses do every day. I was aware of what they did when I advocated up in Albany for their shifts and other benefits that they deserved.
But during 9/11, everyone was focused on our healthcare system, and I saw something that was just beyond the capacity of a human interaction. You know, let me tell you, we think our heroes wear capes, they wear scrubs. They are in our hospitals, they’re in our medical facilities. And if we just go back. I don’t know if the story has actually been truly written on what they experienced. Many of my hospitals, we fought to get PPEs. We were able to get donations and give them to our nurses throughout our pursuit. They were wearing PPEs that were normally supposed to be used after one hospital room visit, you’re supposed to change it. They were wearing it for 30 days, in some cases.
Some of our hospitals, they had to put on… We ran out of the necessary protective equipment, they had to become creative in finding of the equipment. And while they were worried about their loved ones at home, they still came on the front line and delivered services.
And the trauma of seeing people come into the hospital, being incubated, some not coming to [inaudible], loved ones stopping at the door, being told that this may be the last time you’re going to see your loved one. In many cases, it was outside our hospital, morgues lined up along the streets and around the hospitals where I would go and visit the hospital locations. It was just heart wrenching.
But in spite of that, you have won the retention of men and women who stayed in this profession and you have those who are saying, because of that level of nobility of this profession, we’re going to step up and be part of this profession. That’s what this is about today, is the resiliency of the human spirit, and I cannot thank this profession enough for what they do each and every day to care for our loved ones.
When mommy was going through her last period before she transitioned, I remember how that nurse that was there just took care of mommy with the level of care that was just like it was her own mom. And she would tell me, borough president, don’t worry about it. Your mother’s going to be comfortable. Your mother’s going to be all right.
Part of the healing is not what’s in the IV, it is what the human being that comes in and the comfort that they bring. That is something you can’t teach in nursing school. That is something that must be in your heart. Nursing is a calling, and these young ladies and men here, they have answered the calling. And we’re excited: we have 5,000 new Registered Nurses trained for the New York City first Nurse Residency Program. And we… That’s a hand clap.
And they’re the backbone of our healthcare system. You know, when a patient’s in the hospital, you know, the doctor comes into the room, everybody’s happy. When a nurse comes in the room and says, time to take your medicine, get your shot, to have the time to do this and that, you know, they’ve got to take the brunt of everything. You know, those disruptive visitors, you know, don’t want to leave when it’s time to leave. You know, they need a PhD in psychology. And you know, it’s just, the profession is just unbelievable.
And so I made a promise through my State of the City to do more for our nurses, and today, our promises, the promises we made are the promises we are keeping. Not only do we need to hire more nurses, we need to keep them in the nursing program and create opportunities to grow. And our Citywide Nursing Residency program is the nation’s first — first — first city-led nurse residency program.
It has proven to increase worker confidence, professional satisfaction and retention — keeping folks on the job — as well as contributing to a better patient care in the long run. This is a win win all the way around. You are not going to be a good healer if you are an [inaudible] healer. You become a good healer when you are also getting the things that you need emotionally, physically and your atmosphere that you’re working in. We are making sure that this program is what is the best four letter word in the city, it’s free. No one is having to pay, for the nurses who participate, it is free.
And we’re already seeing great results. Our 18 participating H + H campuses, the best healthcare system on the globe. We are attracting the best and brightest nurses, reducing turnover and create a real incentive for them to stay in public hospitals. The national retention average across the nation — national retention average for nurses — is at 84 percent. Here in New York, we do everything bigger, we do everything better: we had 96.5 percent. Those other 3.5 percent, they met a boo, they got married and left the city or…
And that’s what we meant when we talk about supporting working people and creating onramps to opportunities. And we’re going to continue to support nurses and [inaudible] this tour is about. We want folks to just pause for a moment and not just, you see these professionals that are doing the job every day. We want them to think about who they are, the challenges of the job and understand that they are carrying out the mission every day for the people of this city.
We are in better hands because we’re producing an additional better product to help our healthcare professionals in general, but specifically, our nurses that are doing the job. And it’s not lost on me, maybe lost on others, but it’s not lost on me. Overwhelmingly, this profession is made up of folks of color; overwhelmingly, and a substantial number of them are women.
And the beauty of it, many of them are first and second generation Americans. They come in to contribute to the society, they bring that energy with them. So, all the Nurses Association, my Nigerian Nurses Association, my Guyanese Nurses Association, my Puerto Rican Nurses Association, all of the Filipino Nurses Association, all of these associations come together to produce one product, and that’s healthcare for the people of the city. So, I say thank you. As the mayor of the City of New York, thank you so much for what you’re doing. Keep doing it and Godspeed. Thank you.
Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you so much, mayor. I also want to acknowledge we’ve been joined by Councilmember Carlina Rivera.
Thank you for joining us. You know, the mayor mentioned some really dark days in our history, and I think every New Yorker, of course, has a memory right at the height of the pandemic, every seven o’clock at night clapping for, recognizing, making beautiful noise for our front line workers or nurses in the city.
And the mayor made sure that we didn’t just remember that moment, that we didn’t just honor that moment, but we then sprung into action to make sure through programs like this we weren’t just honoring that memory and that history, but doing more and doing better for the nurses of our city.
And I think that’s one of the reasons why, because nursing is such a critical part of our healthcare industry, that we have seen tremendous gains in healthcare in terms of jobs. As of October 20th, the industry has added 140,000 more jobs than pre pandemic levels. So, a huge, huge factor, a huge factor in our recovery. And we have to continue to listen to our healthcare workers and double down on programs like this that really help solve problems and translate promises into action. So, I just wanted to name a couple of other solutions that we’re bringing to bear.
The [inaudible] for Nursing Education and Practice announced during the State of the City, this center is a public/private hub built to support the nursing workforce, really serves as an umbrella for various initiatives that help better plan for the city’s workforce needs.
Another solution is NCLEX RN program for foreign trained nurses. It helps people who are nurses in their country of origin that are not licensed to practice in New York to prepare for licensing here. And as the Mayor mentioned, it is not just a way for newcomers and immigrants to this country to contribute to our economy, but it has been that [inaudible] foothold into our city. And so all of those avenues we definitely support and want to expand.
Now, all of this, all of the programs that I mentioned were part of the charge that the Mayor gave me, the mayor gave Abby Jo Sigal — who will speak in just a second — when he signed just a few months into the administration an executive order that really expanded the Office of Talent and Workforce Development.
It was a full-throated declaration of our dedication to using the power of government to improve our workforce system. And since then, Abby and the team have really executed on that ambition and set even more ambitious goals so that we create a system that does work harder and better for New Yorkers. And a great example of that is our moonshot goal to place 30,000 New Yorkers [inaudible] by 2030.
And this program actually is a type of apprenticeship, because nurses in the program are paid to learn the skills critical to their professional success. And with the program’s more than 5,000 participants, as the mayor mentioned, we are making real headway in that moonshot goal. And so with that, I’d like to turn it over to my partner in all of the work in workforce development Abby Jo Sigal.
Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development: Thank you, deputy mayor. Thank you, Mayor Adams. I am thrilled to be here, for multiple reasons. I mean, just look at this room. So, as you heard earlier, we are thrilled that the city has made an economic and jobs recovery, and the healthcare sector, as you heard from the deputy mayor, has been integral to that growth. We would not have hit the number but for the healthcare sector.
The healthcare sector employs hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in careers ranging from patient care, to keeping our facilities clean, to occupations in corporate offices. And the people work in hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, homecare agencies, large and small organizations in every borough and in every neighborhood.
After the past three years, I am in even greater awe and appreciative of the resilience of New York City’s healthcare organizations; and particularly, of the workforce; and particularly, of those of you who have joined the nursing sector at this time. So, I just really want to say how much I appreciate that.
I think we’re all privileged and humbled and grateful to be here today recognizing nurses for their tremendous passion and dedication. As the mayor said, the nurses are the backbone of our healthcare industry — anybody who’s ever been in the hospital knows that — and they provide essential care during the moments that matter most.
Registered nurse is also a great occupation. It’s a family sustaining job, with average wages in New York City that start at over $80,000 and rise significantly as folks get more experience and navigate their careers. We also know that it’s an incredibly challenging profession, especially at this time.
And as we’ve listened to stories from front line nurses, we’ve heard the strain they’ve been under. A recent study from McKinsey & Co. projects a 10 to 20 percent national shortage in registered nurses across the country by 2025. A study from Bain & Company finds that 25 percent of physicians and nurses and advanced practice providers are considering switching careers altogether.
Well, not in this city. Our Citywide Nurse Residency Program tackles this problem head on by helping nurses ease into their first clinical job and sticking with it. Transitioning from education into practice is hard for anyone — I think we all know that feeling the first time we went to work — and it’s extra hard for nurses where work feels so different in practice than it does in the classroom.
It’s one of the reasons that this administration, our mayor and our office are champing apprenticeships. [Inaudible] learning and earning produces better, more sustainable outcomes. It’s a more efficient way to build skills and develop talent, and it works better for everyone: for employers, for employees and the economy.
The Citywide Nurse Residency Program with its broad participation from our public and private hospitals has created a new standard for how we support early career nurses here in New York. Here in New York, learning does not end in the classroom. We will not leave you to struggle alone as you get started in your career.
When we talk to people on the ground, it is clear that the beauty and brilliance of this program and when it truly comes alive is because of the peer to peer support at every level. Nurse residents learned from shared experience of others like them without judgment; and as you can see from the poster boards around the room, they’re doing incredible collaborative work.
Nurse educators share best practices with each other from across organizational boundaries so learning goes from one organization to another; and, nurse executives can dialogue with each other about supporting the overall nursing workforce, which as we’ve heard is so important.
None of this, none of this, would have happened without the public and private partners and leadership of NYACH as we heard from [the] deputy mayor. NYACH is our healthcare industry partnership, and they really lead the way in doing what industry partnerships do best, which is really pulling together public and private partnerships that work not just for the city overall but for the people who are doing the work every day. I really want to acknowledge the leadership of Daniel Liss and Joe Rhoades for the work they’ve done for the nurse residency program and overall.
We are so proud of the energy that NYACH brings to this work and incredibly grateful to all of our collaborators, and there’s many in this room. I want to recognize those from Greater New York hospitals, and I was just talking to Lorraine about how she was sitting in 2017 trying to think about how to do this program and then excited about how we scaled it under your administration.
So, we also have many individual hospitals here today; and again, this is the hospitals that really are the safety net for New York City and serve everyone, every New Yorker. And without all of that staff, we could not make this happen. So, we’re here, 5,000. Did everybody hear number? 5,000. I think it’s 5,000 and counting.
It’s a testament to the resounding success of the model and the hard work of everyone involved and what public/private partnership is all about. This administration, this mayor and everyone in the administration, and particularly New York City Talent, strongly believes that talent is our city’s most important asset, and the Citywide Nurse Residency Program accomplishments reflect how we do this well.
And today as we celebrate the 5,000 mark, and as the mayor said, this is the nation’s first city led residency program, and we are showing the rest of the country what public/private partnerships can accomplish. So, I want to thank everybody in this room, all the stakeholders, and congratulations.
Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you so much, Abby. So, the spirit of this program is rooted in our public healthcare system, and that spirit has really driven the program’s growth. At its inception, the consortium had 24 public and private hospitals participate. It has since grown to include a consortium of 35 healthcare facilities, bolstered most recently under our next speaker’s leadership by the addition of seven non-hospital facilities H + H, so think ambulatory, long term care, correctional facilities.
And so I am so honored to introduce the woman at the helm of nursing at NYC H + H, our largest public healthcare system in the world, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Executive, Co-Chair, Equity and Access Counsel… So many titles! You’re clearly a superstar. Please join me in welcoming Natalia Cineas.
Natalia Cineas, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Executive, Co-Chair, Equity and Access Council, NYC Health + Hospitals: Thank you, Mayor Adams, for being here. New York City Health + Hospitals is extremely grateful to New York City’s administration, NYACH, Vizient and Greater New York Hospital Association for backing this pioneering program here in New York City.
In 2018, we launched the Nurse Residency Program, and have since grown the program with the help and support from Dr. Mitchell Katz, Central Office Team led by Dr. Belaro, chief nursing officers, facilitators and preceptors. It takes a team; and as a team, we have seen the benefits. Our Nurse Residency Program here at New York City Health + Hospitals stands 1,677 participants strong, over a quarter of New York City’s 5,000 celebratory mark. We have seen phenomenal outcomes: 33 cohorts completing 250 evidence based practice projects with graduates of the program coming back to serve as mentors to support their peers. Our retention rate has increased from 45 percent to an average of 84 percent with a year to date retention rate of 96.5 percent — I will not forget the point five percent.
We have experienced cost avoidance of over $50 million since the inception of the Nurse Residency Program. The reality is the Nurse Residency Program is so special that many of the benefits of the program cannot be captured in figures or words but more so in a ha moments and bonds that are made in each cohort while strengthening the individual and collective knowledge of our nurses.
When I was a new nurse, I did not have the opportunity to take part in a year long program. I was part of a critical care fellowship program that only lasted six months that really focused on clinical skills. Our Nurse Residency Program here at New York City Health + Hospitals not only enhances the clinical skills but provides guidance that often is not taught in schools such as coaching, collaboration, communication and escalation.
The Nurse Residency Program was integral to our nurses during the pandemic. It was a safe haven to ask questions and to provide additional training. Today the Nurse Residency Program continues to prepare our next generation of nurses in providing high quality, compassionate care to our patients, to our families and to our communities. Thank you.
Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you so much, Natalia. Our last speaker, I was talking to her earlier, I asked her why she became a nurse. And what she said it was an opportunity to combine, number one, her love of caring for people, with number two, her love of biology. And she also boasted about her Brooklyn Italian accent, so, we shall see.
But so much of today is about individual experiences, and you’ll hear from one of the graduates of the Nursing Residency Program who also just completed her Masters in nursing education. And so, congratulations and welcome, Wendy Zhao.
Wendy Zhao: Good morning. I’m Wendy Zhao, staff nurse at New York City Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, and graduate of the Citywide Nurse Residency Program. When I was in the program, it meant a lot to have our highest nursing officer, Dr. Natalia Cineas, welcome us. She personally listened, advised and cheered on each resident and their projects.
For our project, Jennifer Otero, Katerina Rich and I sought to reduce pressure injuries with foam dressings — a second skin for patients — at the first point of contact in the emergency room. Our project poster won first place and national recognition at the 2022 American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet and Pathway to Excellence Conference.
I entered the residency program with an Associate’s degree and emerged from it with my Bachelor’s degree. And as you just learned, I completed my Masters in nursing education, receiving top nursing honors from the College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. And that’s due to the encouragement and lessons from our program director, Dr. Albert Belaro.
These are the kindnesses I seek to repay by returning to the program as an RN mentor. Mine is not a singular success story, but one of many shared by my colleagues and New York City Health + Hospitals because we received the support we needed. As a new nurse who served a Covid 19 unit, when the rest of the city shut down, our nurses and program continued on.
Let us be the exemplar to the rest of the nation with our program and guide future regulation which guarantees that no matter where nurses start or transition they will be supported by their fellow nurses and organizations. Let us ensure nurses perform their best when they meet patients at their worst. Thank you.
Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you so much, Wendy. Those are really powerful words. And when you said one of the many kindnesses that you seek to repay, there aren’t too many professions where kindness is kind of a core element and a core motivating factor.
So, to close out our program, I do have three parting requests for everyone in this room. Number one, I encourage everyone here to take your own working people’s tour, and what I mean by that is just taking the opportunity to listen to the stories of your fellow New Yorkers who are every day doing the best that they can for their families and for our city. I also want to make a call to action to nursing leaders from across the city to continue to partner with us and participate in the Center for Nursing Education and our Practice Advisory Council.
And finally, for all New Yorkers looking to get connected to jobs, training, educational opportunities including getting your GED, please visit jobready.nyc.gov. This is a great day for New York City. Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for being here.
Mayor Adams: Any on topic questions. Whenever I see you, I know something’s going on. Okay. Thank you.
New York October 24, 2023
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