Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Nurses? Wearing Garbage Bags?

I find it incredulous that many nurses in New York and London have been wearing garbage bags because of the lack of protective garb.  It is beyond appalling that nurses are having to resort to this questionable protection.

Click here on NEW YORK CITY and LONDON to read more.

The United States is a wealthy nation and should be able to manufacture or pay for whatever supplies and equipment we need in this pandemic.  In fact, The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) released a position statement on COVID-19 which you can find by clicking here.  TAANA is an advocate for nurses as our voting members are all nurses.

The recommendations include urging the federal government under the direction of President Trump to exercise its full authority under the Defense Production Act in which we are asking the President to release an additional memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to increase production of N95 respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for health professionals.

TAANA also recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to maintain strict COVID-19 PPE regulations and guidelines that are based on science and data rather than supply chain driven information.

The CDC changed its guidelines due to the supply chain shortage.  If the CDC guidelines required PPE before this pandemic, nothing has changed since the onset except lack of equipment and, therefore, the CDC should not have changed its guidelines. “TAANA urges the CDC to revise its COVID-19 PPE guidelines consistent with the agency’s mission and statutory directive.”

In addition, TAANA urges the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, state professional licensing boards and professional nursing organizations to develop protocols that are protective of the healthcare professionals who wish to delay or decline patient care until they have inadequate PPE.  This would protect nurses who choose not to work when faced with inadequate PPE.

The position statement also requires that there be adequate testing available with rapid results for healthcare professionals with any symptoms of COVID-19.

During this crisis, TAANA recommends that state professional licensing boards consider modifying disciplinary agreements to return to the workplace healthcare professionals who are willing to serve.  This would be a great resource for individuals who have a license on suspension

We are asking the boards to consider nurses who have completed their term on suspension to have their licenses reactivated as soon as possible so they can return to the workforce to help.

I encourage you and your peers to share this position statement with your state and federal representatives and senators as well as any nursing association with which you are affiliated so they will act on this.



    If there is one group that knows that the that many nurses are unduly disciplined , it is the nurse/attorneys. With most of the punitive action having nothing to do with nursing practice . Highly experienced nurses / np sitting on the side lines while patients dying and nurses getting high ratios. I NP who has a stellar record over 25 years, forgot to renew his license, which requires testing . The test was put off for 180 days by Gov exe order. The board voted to send cease and desist license anyways and 1000k fine. Solo practice , all those patients cannot be seen.

  2. Ken

    I would urge people to raise their mask requirement to N100.
    As some first cases in CA and WA demonstrated N95 was not good enough.
    I work at a hospital in WA that with our first case two out of the three ER nurses that cared for this patient 3 days later came down with Presumptive positive symptoms. The patient was presumed positive from the start. No shortage of PPE and no issues with staffing.

  3. Josefina V Seguedo

    This is a great opportunity for us that are in probation (no substance abuse) and have all what the board asked to clear probation. I hope the board takes in consideration this process to give nurses a opportunity to work again.
    Thank you

  4. Rebecca

    I am very upset and frustrated that nurses are expected to do their jobs without the proper PPE to protect them from getting Covid-19. I am also angry that nurses are having punitive action taken against them by employers if they decline to take care of patients without the proper PPE or if they become ill with the virus and have to take time off work.

    This is happening not only to hospital nurses (who I know are taking care of the most criticality ill patients), but also to nurses in home health. Home health nurses are not getting the same attention as hospital nurses are, but we also put our own health at risk as we are out in the community and going into patient’s homes every day without the proper and necessary PPE. It’s even harder for home health nurses to get the PPE we need because all available resources are being funneled to hospitals.

    I have a cloth face mask that was donated to the company I work for, but it’s not going to protect me from getting Covid-19 from a patient or others in the patient’s home. (And I have to clean and sanitize it in my own home, which risks bringing the virus into my home). I was only given one disposable gown to wear over my scrubs, and once it’s used, then how do I keep my clothing from being contaminated? I am afraid that I will have to resort to the tactic of wearing a garbage bag over my clothes like the nurses you told about in this article!

    In April, I did become ill with symptoms of Covid-19 and was taken off work for 2 1/2 weeks by my doctor. When I was recovered enough to return to work, I ended up getting my hours cut from full time (40 hours/week) to part time or less (anywhere from 8-24 hours/week) because I had taken “too much time off” and I was “not consistent and reliable in working.” I have no other source of income, so this is putting even more strain on me as I struggle to just pay for the costs of living!

    More needs to be done to protect and help ALL nurses! We are the ones doing the majority of patient care every hour of every day!

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