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What It's Like To Be A Nurse On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Pandemic47:26
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Nurses in the intensive care unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital check the fit of protective equipment before entering a patient's room March 24, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Nurses in the intensive care unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital check the fit of protective equipment before entering a patient's room March 24, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Health care workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. We hear from nurses across the country about the challenges they’re facing.

Guests

Paul Read, chief nursing executive for Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama. (@SpringhillMC)

Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. Medical intensive care nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. (@mnnurses)

Mary Jo Kelly, critical care clinical nurse specialist at the University of Washington Medical Center — Northwest Campus. (@UWMedicine)

Elizabeth Bridges, president-elect of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Clinical nurse researcher at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing.
(@AACNme)

From The Reading List

NPR: "Nurses Are Facing Coronavirus Without Enough Protective Gear" — "Across the country, medical professionals are working to save the lives of people suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

"In many places, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) means that that nurses must reuse masks and do without certain protective measures.

"Here's what two nurses told NPR's Morning Edition about what it's been like to treat coronavirus patients."

NBC News: "U.S. hospitals brace for another challenge — an unprecedented shortage of nurses" — "As hospitals around the country prepare for a surge of tens of thousands of coronavirus patients expected in the coming weeks, they are trying to fill thousands of 'crisis' nursing jobs nationwide, particularly intensive care unit and emergency room positions.

"Even before the coronavirus outbreak, several states were experiencing nursing shortages, and without a dramatic increase in staffing, hospital administrators and advocates fear the health care system will not be able to handle the demand.

"'The American Nurses Association is concerned about the pending shortage of nurses to care for COVID-19 patients,' said Ernest Grant, the group's present, in a statement to NBC News. 'It is critical that healthcare facilities and the federal government do all they can to protect this essential workforce.'”

The New York Times: "Nurses Share Coronavirus Stories Anonymously in an Online Document" — "More than 1,200 health care workers have used a private online document to share their stories of fighting the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.

"In their accounts, they say the outbreak has turned American hospitals into 'war zones.' They talk about being scared to go to work and anxious that they will become infected. They describe managers who seem to not care about their plight. 'But we show up and have to keep showing up,' one nurse wrote, 'and we have to test ourselves.'

"The document was created on March 19 by Sonja Schwartzbach, a nurse in New Jersey who is studying as a doctoral student. She said she started compiling the accounts after she determined that hospital conditions were 'far worse' than most people realized and that her fellow health care workers needed a place to share what they were seeing."

This program aired on March 26, 2020.

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