Nurses’ union calls for appropriate gear and equipment to treat patients amid COVID-19 pandemic

This is a March 5th video of National Nurses United Executive Director, Bonnie Castillo, as she revealed the results of the first nationwide survey of nurses when it comes to hospital preparedness for the virus.

According to the survey, nurses said most of their hospitals do not have isolation procedures or policies in place to combat COVID-19.

They added that they lack protective equipment and gear.

“Nurses are confident we can care for COVID-19 patients, and even help stop the spread of this virus, if we are given the protections and resources we need to do our jobs. This is not the time to relax our approach or weaken existing state or federal regulations,” said Castillo.

Two weeks following Castillo’s address — the country is under a national emergency, with communities on lockdown as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise on a daily basis.

As the crisis worsens — the nurses continue to call for basic safety equipment while they treat their patients.

“What’s happening in our hospitals is that we are scrambling for protective gear. We are running short of masks, all the real type of masks that’s needed to care for coronavirus-infected patients, which is called N-95, or respirators. And the other thing that we are short of are the gowns,” said RN Zenei Cortez.

Cortez said the pandemic has taken a toll on the frontliners.

“To tell you frankly, what the nurses are anxious about is the fact that we are not protecting ourselves from the suspected virus-infected patients, nor are we protecting the patients from us. So that’s where the greatest fear is. We are not fearful of taking care of the coronavirus infected patients.”

To make sure the needs of the community are met, the nurses recommend re-opening hospitals that were closed in the past five years especially those in underserved communities.

They’re also asking for the construction of new health facilities and opportunities to provide free health education.

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