The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association and American Nurses Association thank the nurses who serve during the pandemic. As they have done from the start, nurses stand at the front lines to care for Pennsylvanians despite risks to themselves and their families.
It is disappointing that we now see unprecedented numbers of cases and hospitalizations. Unfortunately, nearly 400 nurses in the U.S. have died due to COVID-19. Many others have been infected or hospitalized.
Lack of protection is unacceptable. Nurses and health care workers deserve the personal protective equipment, testing and supplies needed to fight COVID-19. If they contract the virus, they must get all of the rest required to fully heal. Health care organizations should use all other staffing resources for replacement providers.
Under no circumstances should a nurse be pressured to work. In addition, employers should never retaliate against or penalize a nurse for choosing to prioritize self-care and the care of those patients to whom they attend.
We must also come together as a community to ensure that we are performing measures that slow the spread — like wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing physical distancing and exercising good hand hygiene. These are essential to prevent local systems and our health care workforce from being overwhelmed and unable to meet the exploding demand for care both now and in the coming weeks and months.
Tarik Khan, MSN, RN
Pennsylvania State Nurses Association president
Betsy M. Snook, M.Ed., BSN, RN
Pennsylvania State Nurses Association CEO