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.
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.