Nurses fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are often in conflict with their own hospital administrations and are reaching a breaking point, according to a report by USA Today.
In efforts to keep themselves safe, nurses have been challenging hospital management and raising red flags about diminished staff and minimal to non-existent supplies of personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, and gowns.
Maria Gray, one such nurse who works at a hospital in Kansas City, MO, recently lost her contract when the hospital claimed she was “making demands [for personal protective equipment] that the facility believed were not in line with current policies.”
“I was always taught that you stand up for what is right, and that’s what I did,” she says. “I felt like, this isn’t right. They are putting my life at risk. They are putting other nurses’ lives at risk. They are putting patients at risk.”
Nurses in 16 states have filed more than 100 complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), according to the report, and are demanding that the Trump administration use the Defense Production Act to make more N95s and other protective gear as quickly as possible.
“You can’t expect nurses to be miracle workers without the equipment they need to pull off a miracle,” said Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United.
Read more about the unsafe conditions facing nurses in hospitals across the country and how the federal government can help alleviate them here.