WA Nurses Express Concern About Allowing Non-Essential Procedures

We certainly under­stand everybody’s desire to get people back to work, including nurses and other health care providers, but we still have concerns related to adding back those elective proce­dures because we’re still hearing a lot from our members related to the shortage of personal protec­tive equip­ment,” said Sally Watkins, execu­tive director of the Washington State Nurses Association.

I will not forget hearing the sound of one of our nurse member’s voice cracking when trying to explain the condi­tions that she’s working under, shift after shift, with patients getting sicker and dying and her feelings of helpless­ness,” said WSNA Presi­dent Lynnette Vehrs in a video posted on the nurses associ­a­tion website.

The union has also posted an online petition that demands several things. It asks hospital admin­is­tra­tors to provide more PPE. It asks hospi­tals to provide secure locations for workers to change out of their soiled uniforms. The union asks for a five-dollar-an-hour pay increase to compen­sate for the increased risk of working with coron­avirus patients and paid leave for nurses not allowed to work because they were exposed to the virus.

The other thing we have some concerns about is making sure we have better testing capability before we go down that road because we’re also hearing about delays and not neces­sarily seeing that every­body who needs to get tested is getting tested,” Watkins said.

The union has collected about 18,000 signa­tures on its petition.

SPOKANE PUBLIC RADIO: WA Nurses Express Concern About Allowing Non-Essential Procedures (4/26/20)