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INA Holds Virtual Town Hall to Address Nurses’ Top Concerns
May 13, 2020
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INA Holds Virtual Town Hall to Address Nurses’ Top Concerns

INA Holds Virtual Town Hall to Address Nurses’ Top Concerns

The evening of May 12, INA held a tele-town hall to empower our members to share top concerns about COVID-19 work conditions and pay. Now more than two months since Illinois hospitals became inundated by coronavirus cases, these are the priorities our frontline workers want addressed by management and officials:

1. Universal PPE for all healthcare facilities and all healthcare workers

· N95 masks for all units, not exclusively COVID-19 units. Many nurses who were not working on designated “COVID units” have become sick, some fatally, because of slackened PPE standards. Employees working anywhere in a facility with COVID-19 confirmed cases needs an N95, not simply surgical or fabric masks.

· Sterilization of masks is not a proven viable option. There remain concerns that sterilization degrades the integrity of the masks. Nurses need a new N95 mask every 4-6 hours.

2. Negative pressure rooms

· Negative pressure rooms vacuum air from the inside to the outside of a space. This can be done through ventilation or simply with a hole in a window that vents out.A HEPPA filter placed in the room will filter particulates and bacteria from the air in that space. We have observed this can be achieved quickly, such as at Quincy VA, where an entire wing was converted to negative pressure in a week.

· Best practice would be to create entire floors or wings that are negative pressure to protect patients and staff.

3. Universal testing for all staff and patients in healthcare facilities

4. Engage the bedside nurse

· All precautions work best when the practitioners are consulted and heard.

5. Healthcare workers are becoming sick with COVID-19, but not getting sick pay

· We need to increase paid sick days, increase workers compensation payments, and make it easier for nurses to get that compensation when ill. At present, nurses are becoming sick, yet not receiving workers compensation. Even when healthcare workers do receive compensatory pay, it’s only 66% of an employer’s regular pay.

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