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.
So powerful. Anger is a constructive emotion and you have harnessed what is wrong and how we must be heard. I hear you loud and strong and deeply hope those in positions of real leadership do so also. Best wishes.
I agree anger and indignation combined with action can be powerful for change. I do believe at times nurses indoctrinated to always putting the patient first can neglect to advocate for their profession. healthcare organizations that can embrace HCW sounding the alarm and identifying weakness are essential if we have hope for improvements and lessons truly learned from all this
Thank you for sharing your righteous indignation. Do you have hope that this crisis will lead to significant changes? Will we be more prepared for the next crisis?
I am riding the uncomfortable fence between hopeful that our society will finally see the need for a significant overhaul in healthcare system and overwhelmed by the immediate task in front of us. If the reports and pics coming out of NYC don't spur a national outcry Im not sure what will. Daily I have non medical friends who ask me what can we do to help? I believe they are expecting make masks or deliver food to HCP at hospital and when I respond stay home so my colleagues don't have to care for more people than they can handle and vote for candidates who support healthcare for all and listen to science they seem taken completely aback. As if their everyday choices don't contribute to the problem or solution.
More prepared I hope so. Lessons must include the vital role of a robust healthcare system capable of flexibility and full supported by our tax dollars. A system that responds when the people providing the care start sounding the alarm. Considering the financial bailout of banking in 2008, mandated reserves for banks even though it cut into profits... Any hospital accepting healthcare dollars minimally should have to have a similar type of reserve of PPE and other resources.