Nurses have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, working every step of the way, many times with little to no personal protective equipment.
The Nation contributor Sarah Jaffe has spoken to many nurses throughout the country and reported on her findings, telling their stories. Jaffe joined AWF Union Podcast to share some of the situations they have been placed in and what is happening to improve the situation.
COVID-19 nurses horror stories
Nurses have been battling COVID-19 for nearly a year now, risking both theirs and their family’s health. What they have gotten is lock outs when they strike, a lack of PPE and disrespect from employers.
Jaffe said nurses have continued to be forced to reuse masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, this could be rationalized by the shortage. She said it is unacceptable at this point in the pandemic, as masks are no longer scarce.
Since nursing is a female-dominated profession, nursing is not seen as a “skilled profession.” Jaffe said women are typically good at things such as teaching and care, resulting in them being frequently overlooked.
National Nurses United gains steam
Finally, Jaffe spoke about the actions being taken by nurses and organizations to improve their situation.
National Nurses United, NNU, has led the charge, working to organize as many nurses as possible. Many complaints from nurses stem from poor work conditions or mistreatment in the workplace.
In addition to organizing nurses, NNU has been pushing hard for nationalized healthcare. Jaffe said it is important to listen to the nurses who are in the system day in and day out to give their input on how the system should be organized.