David Keepnews, executive director of the Washington State Nurses Association, says he's keeping track of a few issues affecting nurses as the end of the emergency order approaches.
First, there's the vaccine mandate. Keepnews expects some hospitals to institute their own mandates, but he wants to make sure nurses have the same protections that they did during the pandemic, like time off for the side effects after receiving your booster.
During the public health emergency, the process for nurses and staff to file complaints with the Department of Health was also suspended. So when health-care workers filed formal complaints with the Department of Health because staffing levels were inadequate, those complaints weren't investigated. That process will start again.
Keepnews said he is extremely concerned about staffing levels.
"Issues of their staffing were a problem prior to the pandemic and obviously were exacerbated by the pandemic and will continue after after the pandemic or with the end of the emergency order," he said.