A Brooklyn Hospital Center exec has been accused of dressing down a roomful of overworked nurses, bringing some to tears, and now their union is demanding an apology – or else.
Brooklyn Hospital CEO Gary Terrinoni, along with several other executives and department heads, were updating the nursing staff about the hospital’s future a month ago when Terrinoni launched into what sources described as a nasty screed.
“Are you all tired?” Terrinoni mockingly asked the nurses, according to a letter distributed by the New York State Nurses Association.
When no one offered a response, Terrinoni singled out one veteran RN, who at first politely tried to deflect his question. After more prodding, she answered that the biggest problem they faced was understaffed shifts.
“That’s what I’m talking about! Look at your attitude!” Terrinoni allegedly erupted. “Then you don’t need to be here. Go find another job!”
When the 13-year Brooklyn Hospital vet noted she had more than a decade on the job, Terrinoni only grew more agitated, the union said.
“I don’t care if you’ve been here ten years or 30 years,” he allegedly said. “You can leave if you don’t like it here.”
The exchange took place as the New York State Nurses Association and management are in contract negotiations.
Wendyann McGuire, who’s worked as a nurse at Brooklyn Hospital for the last three years, witnessed the exchange and said the target of Terrinoni’s ire is now looking for a new job.
“She’s still hurt,” McGuire said. “She was really embarrassed.”
McGuire added it doesn’t help that the hospital has been short-staffed for about a year.
“If someone is out sick, you work short. If someone is on vacation, you work short. There is nobody to replace them,” she said. “It sounded like he didn’t appreciate our efforts. That’s what it sounded like to me.”
John Pietaro, a NYSNA union rep at the hospital, said the outburst has sent morale into a tailspin and demanded that Terrinoni apologize to the staff publicly. If he doesn’t, Pietaro said the union would take a “series of actions,” one of which could be touring local officials around the hospital’s understaffed floors.
“We’re not accepting ‘no’ for an answer,” he said. “[But] we’re not expecting this man to grovel. We’re not looking for his head on a platter. All we’re looking for is an apology.”