As you know, we are facing a public health emergency unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. This has been declared a National Disaster Emergency, which forces us to repri­or­i­tize responses at many levels. The coron­avirus pandemic is a clarion call to our profes­sion to care for those in need, and we as nurses are stepping up. In this moment of crisis, we are demon­strating our most deeply held values as a profes­sion to care for every patient.

WSNA’s top priority remains to make sure you, our members, have what you need to respond to this pandemic safely.

The stark reality is that our state does not currently have enough PPE, beds or health care workers to respond to the rapidly growing need. State officials are working to quickly expand the health system’s capacity to respond to the expected surge in COVID-19 patients by creating additional bed space, delaying elective surgeries and other proce­dures that can be put off, activating nurses who are not currently working in hospi­tals to support the effort, and other measures.

WSNA is working with our labor partners, including SEIU 1199 and UFCW 21, our congres­sional delega­tion, the Governor’s Office, state health officials, local health juris­dic­tions, the Washington State Medical Associ­a­tion (WSMA), the Washington State Hospital Associ­a­tion (WSHA), AFT Nurses and Health Profes­sionals (AFT), the American Nurses Associ­a­tion (ANA) and others to respond to this crisis.

Specif­i­cally, we are: 

  • Working with our partners to prior­i­tize distri­b­u­tion and use of PPE as it comes in through the Depart­ment of Health.
  • Working with our partners to develop uniform proto­cols for screening and caring for suspected and known COVID-19 patients.
  • Working to resolve urgent issues with state officials, WSHA and hospital admin­is­tra­tors, including reuse of surgical masks and other PPE.
  • Working with our labor partners to stand up for the safety of our members by devel­oping statewide and facility-level agree­ments for the poten­tial of floating nurses and other health care workers to facil­i­ties absorbing the surge of new cases.
  • Reviewing and sharing the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC on use of PPE in a times of supply shortage and working to ensure those guide­lines are followed in the hospi­tals where you work.

Visit our COVID-19 webpage for the latest infor­ma­tion and links to trusted sources of information.

WSNA is doing every­thing we can to address proto­cols and practices of concern in your hospi­tals. We encourage you to continue reaching out to your nurse repre­sen­ta­tives with questions and concerns.

Nurses facing abnor­mally dangerous patient care assignments

You may have to make a decision about accepting an abnor­mally dangerous assign­ment. If you accept an abnor­mally dangerous assign­ment, fill out an ADO to document that you are accepting an assign­ment despite objec­tion. Please reach out to your nurse repre­sen­ta­tive if you find yourself in such circumstances. 

DOH calls for volunteers

WA State Dept of Health is recruiting for immediate use of volun­teer health practi­tioners. While an emergency procla­ma­tion from the Governor is in effect, a volun­teer health practi­tioner who is licensed in another state may practice in Washington without obtaining a Washington license if they are in good standing in all states of licen­sure and are regis­tered in the volun­teer health practi­tioner system. Learn more.

We will continue to update you throughout this national emergency.

Thank you for all you do.

Sally Watkins, PhD, RN

WSNA Execu­tive Director