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Death tolls are on the rise. Safety conditions continue to be a concern. And nurses on the frontlines are facing a tough decision – stay and risk theirs and their family’s health or leave their jobs.
On June 3rd, Reuters reported some alarming news; in the past month, the nursing death toll had nearly doubled to almost 600 fatalities worldwide. When Reuters interviewed the CEO of The International Council of Nurses, Howard Catton, he said of the matter,
“In the last two months, we have seen the number of deaths of nurses as a result of coronavirus around the world rise from 100 to now in excess of 600 and we think worldwide the number of healthcare workers who could be infected by the virus is around 450,000.” He continued, “These are numbers that keep going up.”
There has always been expected risk and exposure for those working in the medical field. However, with infection numbers rising, continued exposure to COVID-19, and an ongoing PPE shortage, nurses are faced with one of the hardest decisions: Should I stay or should I go?
Simply put, nurses don’t feel safe right now. Many on the frontlines are reporting that they feel the CDC and their employers have minimized their safety concerns and are forcing them to work in unsafe conditions, thus risking them and their family’s safety. Phrases such as “sheep sent to slaughter” have been used in multiple news articles. None of this is right, and it comes as no big surprise that nurses are leaving or planning to leave their jobs. In fact, according to Becker Hospital Review,
“A survey of more than 1,300 nurses from over 400 hospitals found that 67 percent of respondents said they are planning to quit either their jobs or the profession altogether, according to results published April 9 by Holliblu, an online community for nurses.”
None of this is ok.
Nurses and their families are not expendable, and they should not feel as such by simply doing their jobs.
“There are huge ethical dilemmas that nurses are now facing. ”she continues, “Just imagine having to make decisions every day on whether you’re going to fulfill your professional obligation to care for patients versus sacrificing your personal safety or even that of your family because you’re in a situation where you don’t have adequate resources.”
The fact of the matter is, if things don’t change, nursing will (understandably) continue to see some of its best leaving the profession they had previously dedicated their lives to. As hard as nurses work to protect us, our nurses need to similarly be protected.
If you’re interested in helping nurses on the frontlines with PPE and other needs, we have a list of donation resources here.