A national survey of more than 1,000 nurses reveals harrowing conditions on the front lines of the pandemic, and the urgent need for greater action by the Trump administration to protect patients, caregivers, and communities.
• 92 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Do you think the federal government is doing enough to ensure there is sufficient PPE and other protections for healthcare staff?”
• 82 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Do you and your co-workers have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely care for your patients and avoid contracting the virus?”
• 85 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Can staff request and receive COVID-19 testing quickly and effectively at your hospital if they fear exposure?”
• 80 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Does your hospital have sufficient staffing in place to handle the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients?”
• 78 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Is your hospital’s paid sick time policy adequate to meet the needs of staff who might get sick?”
• 69 percent of respondents answered “No” when asked, “Does your workplace have clear protocols, isolation rooms and directives on how to handle suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases?”
Many nurses said that being part of a union allows them to speak up and advocate for their patients and co-workers without fear of being disciplined or terminated.
Kerry Labarbera, a 22-year registered nurse and member of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East working in the Boston Medical Center emergency room, said hospital management "has increased communication with the staff and has been better about trying to get us the personal protective equipment we need."
Speaking of healthcare workers, 40+-year registered nurse and SEIU leader Martha Baker, said, "We can’t let them fall, because if they fall our nation is in real trouble. We see all these other countries with much higher standards of protective equipment for their frontline workers. I want to ask President Trump, how is it that the richest country on earth can’t produce enough masks and provide basic sick leave for our healthcare heroes?”