WSNA statement on Governor’s proclamation reopening non-urgent medical and dental procedures

200518 inslee proc

Sally Watkins, execu­tive director of the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion, made the following statement:

The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion is pleased to see the thoughtful, collab­o­ra­tive, data-driven procla­ma­tion on the safe restart of health care surgeries and proce­dures issued by Governor Jay Inslee today. 

As stake­holders and partic­i­pants in devel­op­ment of this new guidance, the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion recog­nizes the need to make proce­dures and screen­ings avail­able to patients to address their health care needs and well-being. We do not want to experi­ence unintended public health conse­quences that can come from such issues as delayed admin­is­tra­tion of vaccines, lack of access to repro­duc­tive health care or delayed diagnosis and treatment.

We support the restart of these proce­dures in a safe manner that recog­nizes the ongoing national shortage of Personal Protec­tive Equip­ment (PPE), the need to maintain the safety of nurses and other health care workers, and the prudent mainte­nance of surge capacity for a poten­tial resur­gence of COVID-19.

We have had nurses laid off or furloughed and are eager to see them be able to return to work – but safely.

WSNA remains concerned about the limited avail­ability, cleaning proce­dures and reuse of personal protec­tive equip­ment such as surgical masks, N95 respi­ra­tors and face shields. The Contin­gency Care Phase’ guide­lines, which allow for the extended use and reuse of protec­tive equip­ment intended for single use must not become the new normal, for the safety of health care workers and patients alike. We urge the federal govern­ment to employ all avail­able means to produce and secure personal protec­tive equip­ment so that we can return to the science-based infec­tion control guidance at the founda­tion of the Conven­tional Care Phase’ at all health care facilities.

WSNA will continue to monitor the on-the-ground experi­ences of our members, and we expect that the State will utilize the WA Health data reporting system to ensure hospi­tals and other health care facil­i­ties are adhering to the guidance issued today. The safety of nurses, health care workers and patients remain our top priority. 

Nurses and other health care workers have cared for patients through the COVID-19 crisis despite the lack of the protec­tive equip­ment needed for their own safety as well as that of their patients and families. It is our duty and respon­si­bility to honor their dedica­tion by ensuring their safety and returning to conven­tional infec­tion control proto­cols as quickly as possible.”