WNA Issues Statement on Protecting Nurses During the Surge of COVID-19 Cases in Wyoming
The Wyoming Nurses Association (WNA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) continue to be incredibly proud of the Wyoming nurses serving our state during the pandemic. As they have done from the start, nurses are heroically serving at the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis to care for Wyomingites despite the severe risks to themselves and their families. It is incredibly disappointing that eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus remains uncontained, and accelerating cases over the past few weeks have resulted in unprecedented numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.
Nurses working across all health care settings and specialties are essential to combating COVID-19. Unfortunately, nearly 400 nurses in the United States have died due to COVID-19, and many others have been infected and hospitalized. This lack of protection for our nurses is unacceptable. Nurses and health care workers who are risking their lives, and the health of their own families, deserve better. They deserve all of the PPE, testing, supplies, and safe staffing they need to fight COVID-19 and, if they contract the virus, all of the rest that is required to mend and fully heal. Health care organizations should use all other staffing resources for replacement providers so that those nurses who test positive for COVID-19 can get the required rest to recuperate.
Under no circumstances should a nurse be pressured to work. In addition, employers should never retaliate against or penalize a nurse in any way for choosing to prioritize self-care and the care of those patients to whom they attend.
We must also come together as a community to ensure that we are performing measures that we know slow the spread of COVID-19. These include wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing physical (social) distancing, and exercising good hand hygiene. These steps are essential to prevent our local health care systems and our nation's health care workforce from been overwhelmed and unable to meet the exploding demand for care from our incredible nursing workforce both now and in the coming weeks and months. Stay safe, and our thoughts are with our nurses, patients, and families during this crisis.
On Behalf of WNA President Marianne Madariaga and the WNA Board of Directors.