This issue with COVID-19 has been a struggle for nurses and healthcare workers everywhere, and there isn’t any real light at the end of the tunnel. There are a few glimmers of hope for a vaccine for the novel Corona virus by the the end of the year, more likely early 2021. In order to help improve healthcare in general, nurses are going to need to stand up and be heard!
Not unlike many others, I have not escaped direct impact. A close family member was just released last Friday from 50 days in the hospital and followed up with rehab in a SNF. I have also seen other extended family members lose their battles with this viscous disease! Looking in from the outside it has been a terrible roller coaster ride. Some of the care has been questionable at best which makes me very sad. I understand the impact on staffing and care giving, but there is NO EXCUSE for terrible nursing care that puts the patient at even greater risk! Being lied to and given misinformation has made the ordeal even more difficult. As the nurse in the family, I have made my voice heard by administrative staff.
I’m quite sure there has been an even greater burden placed on the nursing staff because family members haven’t been there to relieve some of the burden of the patient care. I also know how loved ones can be an annoyance, but without them, who is there to advocate for their loved one? In our case, obviously very few!!
The truth about misuse of clustering care
Clustering care to conserve PPE which is already in short supply is one thing. Protecting staff from over exposure is another. BUT, leaving a patient in 8/10 pain, on a soaking wet chux, and scrunched down in the bed unable to move for another hour until the insulin is due and the nurse doesn’t want to DON and DOFF the PPE twice constitutes Immediate Jeopardy and is NOT a consideration for clustering care under any circumstances! This is NOT the nursing care any patient deserves! (There were a variety of other reported offenses to be sure.)
CEOs who are increasing the burden on nursing staff to save some money (to put into their own pockets) is deplorable. The shortages of adequate PPE to protect our most valued workers is unconscionable and the government officials who continue to minimize the impact of this deadly virus should pay at the polls in November. Change must come to protect all of us as nurses and as citizens of this planet. This virus is not going away any time soon and we have not yet seen the affects it may have over time.
Nursing workforce is largest in nation
Nurses in the U.S. are 4 million strong and growing. Nurses have been selected as the most ethical and honest profession for 18 years in a row by the Gallop Poll. Nurses make up a large majority of the entire workforce in the U.S. and they comprise the largest portion of the healthcare workforce. As such nurses have a strong collective voice, and one that needs to be heard from! The COVID-19 virus thrust nurses into the limelight and they have been heralded as angels and heroes and leaders in helping us all get through this pandemic together. Understandably, nurses are being kept busy keeping patients alive, but the time will come when they need to stand shoulder to shoulder to right the many wrongs in the handling of this pandemic as well as improving health care delivery as a whole.
Nurses need to stand up and be heard
A very grateful public will have to be be informed and warned about the perils healthcare and the need to take away the power of a few corporations and their greedy CEOs. The truth needs to be told about what has really gone on behind the scenes while family have been silenced. And the real struggles to defeat this illness and prevent complications. Nurses will need to be seated at the table in board rooms and elevated to positions of power, influence and importance to create a health care system that works for all and provides for quality care for all. Through legislation and the election of candidates interested in humanity and and healthcare, we can abolish policies that continue to make a few people rich on the backs of the majority. Nurses collectively have a strong voice and need to be heard!
We need a National Nurse
A grassroots effort with the goal “to elevate and enhance the position of the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS to bring more visibility to the critical role nursing occupies in promoting, protecting, and advancing the nation’s health” is in current legislation before the House (HR 1597) and the Senate (S696). The National Nurse for Public Health has the highest amount of bi-partisan support during this pandemic year than it has had since it’s inception as an op-ed in the NY Times in 2005. Now is the time for nurses to stand up for national leadership to further the nursing profession and in support of prevention and promotion of health and wellness especially in these challenging times. Please take the time to read about these bills and send off an email in support to your Senators and Congressional representative today!