These are not new challenges
Based on your experience as a frontline nurse dealing with COVID-19, what are your challenges, ethical dilemmas and fears?
Challenges that we are facing in dealing with the pandemic of CoVid-19 are the challenges that we face every day multiplied and magnified. The broken system that has allowed multibillion dollar for profit health care systems to embrace productivity, reactivity and reimbursement over preparedness and an adequate resource supply is a daily struggle. When I say adequate resource supply I mean PPE, ventilators, doctors, nurses and support staff of all kinds. You will never convince me that the profits we see from for profit healthcare systems could not have been better spent in preparedness rather than shareholder dividends and CEO salaries. Again this is a daily struggle heightened by CoVid. It is and always has been the corporate mind fuck of nursing. Excuse the language but like many other nurses I am righteously pissed. Two weeks ago my organization was reprimanding nurses who felt the need to wear masks and sending out detailed emails outlining how if you could not prove you contracted CoVID from work you would not be eligible for compensation for time missed from work. You would have to use your PTO. They have since changed the policy only after a huge outcry from nursing in the midst of a union campaign. The idea that a nurse had to fight that fight during all this…shameful. Concrete challenges this unpreparedness creates, too few ICU beds as a result of empty beds being unprofitable in a non- pandemic world, to few icu nurses and nurses in general because for far too long our corporate world has viewed nursing as a cost center rather than a vital profession whom without they would be irrelevant, a shameful lack of essential supplies to keep HCP safe because stockpiling is just too costly and at times, most distressing is the disjointed messaging from our leaders, nurse leaders included, that leave us all feeling abandoned by the organizations we serve.
I have heard over and over again in the media and from the public comparisons between nurses and military on the front line, nurses as heroes. Here is a news flash… We don’t want to be heroes or soldiers. There is no parade when we win this fight. There is no service connected follow up to care for us. We have no medals. Truthfully we don’t want them. We are professionals who want the tools, staff, compensation and voice our role demands we have to be effective. Every shift nurses are asking for these things, every day while you are in our care, unfortunately this virus has magnified our cries.