Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | Cold/Flu | nurses | survey | resources | preparation

Nurses Fear for Own Health Amid Lack of Virus Resources

Nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures
(Michael Cooper/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2020 04:54 PM

Nurses fear they lack the resources or readiness amid the impending spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., according to the latest National Nurses United survey of more than 6,500.

"The results of our national survey of more than 6,500 nurses is truly disturbing," the union's Jane Thomason told BuzzFeed News. "They show that large percentages of the nation's hospital are unprepared to safely handle COVID-19."

Only 30% of nurses feel their hospitals and doctor's offices have sufficient personal protective equipment, according to the report.

"When nurses are not protected, the community is not protected," nurse Cathy Kennedy, whose Kaiser Permanente Roseville in California saw a coronavirus patient die this week, per the report.

"We also hope that this death will compel hospital management to take seriously our calls for open communication, continuous training in infectious disease protocols and personal protective equipment, PPE, to keep us all safe at work and in turn our wider communities."

Also, just 44% of nurses say their employers have adequately prepared and briefed their staff on identifying and responding to infected patients, the survey said.

Among the other worrisome findings from the survey:

  • Just 29% said there is a plan to quarantine patients at their workplace.
  • Just 19% say there is a policy in place for employees with exposure to the virus.

The union is pointing a finger at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for failing to provide proper guidance for  screening and isolating suspected coronavirus patients.

"The CDC has been behind the ball at almost every step of the way," Thomason told BuzzFeed, adding the CDC potentially backing off respirators for nurses vs. use of surgical masks is alarming. 

"We have ample scientific evidence that this is the wrong step to take," she added.

"Now is the time to use every possible tool available to guarantee the highest level of protection," she continued, "to prevent the spread of infection, to protect healthcare workers, and to preserve our capacity to respond to a potentially widespread outbreak."

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Nurses lack the resources or readiness for further spread of the coronavirus, according to the latest National Nurses United survey of more than 6,500.
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Thursday, 05 March 2020 04:54 PM
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