News Release

Employers and Government Still Not Protecting Nurses and Patients


Burger, Cortez, Ross, and Giles are members of the Council of Presidents of National Nurses United. For the last month, the group has been “conducting a nationwide survey of registered nurses. More than 23,000 nurses filled out the survey about their experiences working during the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses are loud and clear:

“While it’s been months since COVID-19 struck the United States, our employers and the government are STILL not protecting us nurses and our patients.

“Despite having months to produce more PPE, the Trump administration and Congress have refused to get us the protection we need to stay safe on the front lines of this crisis. Some 87% of nurses reported having to reuse a single-use disposable respirator or mask with a COVID-19 patient.

“Here are some other troubling statistics about nurses’ lack of safety from the survey:

“Over 33 percent of nurses reported that their employer requires them to use their own sick leave, vacation, or paid time off if a nurse gets COVID-19 or is exposed to COVID-19 and needs to self-quarantine.

“Some 84 percent of nurses reported they have not yet been tested and, of those who have been tested, more than 500 nurses reported a positive result.

“More than a quarter — 28 percent  — of respondents had to reuse a so-called ‘decontaminated’ respirator with confirmed COVID-19 patients.

“We can’t allow nurses to continue to work in these conditions, leaving them vulnerable to the virus and putting their patients at risk. When nurses aren’t safe, patients aren’t safe. That’s why NNU is standing up to fight for the highest level of protections.”