COVID-19: Mission For Masks
We need our nurses to be healthy and safe, now more than ever. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the United States, there have been numerous accounts in the media recently that that is not happening. And some nurses are afraid to speak out.
But Sonja Schwartzback, a critical care nurse and doctoral student from New Jersey, created a Google document called COVID-19: Mission For Masks. Sonja’s objective was to give nurses an outlet to share coronavirus stories anonymously without fear of retaliation from administrators.
“There’s also a history within nursing of retaliation.”
Sonja discussed how she started the Google doc after receiving hundreds of questions from nurses and doctors via her Instagram account, where she has over 49k followers. In her eyes, nurses are feeling desperate, and their issues are not being appropriately addressed in the media.
In this article I wrote for nurse.org, I spoke about how many nurses are feeling out of control and need to prioritize their mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestion #7 for nurses was to talk to other healthcare staff who can understand their unique struggles during the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19: Mission For Masks is providing a platform for exactly that.
Some experts also say that healthcare professions are facing an increased risk of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 outbreak. They need an outlet to communicate frustrations, concerns, and fears with healthcare professionals who understand their struggles.
The COVID-19: Mission For Masks document is an opportunity to serve as a platform for nurses to find strength in numbers, share what is working and what isn’t at their hospitals and give nurses a much-needed mental health outlet.
New York is the epicenter for coronavirus cases in March. But officials state that COVID-19 cases are expected to explode exponentially, with deaths reaching from 100,000 to 240,000.
As a nurse, how are you dealing with the COVID-19 crisis?
Does your facility have the proper PPE for healthcare staff to manage this epidemic? Do you feel that you have reasonable equipment to fight this epidemic as a frontline nurse so that you do not get the disease yourself? Do you need an outlet to talk with other nurses about how COVID-19 is being managed at your facility?
Many nurses have publicly documented quitting their jobs. They were NOT ALLOWED to wear masks because their facilities are unable to provide them, and they were not allowed to wear their own.
Here is the bottom line: If nurses are unable to reasonably protect themselves from COVID-19, and more importantly, aren’t able to communicate with administrators about not having proper PPE – such as having a face mask on COVID-19 units – how can we expect nurses to continue giving adequate care for the sick? Ultimately, our country will lose nurses, and patient’s lives in the wake.
As a mother with two small children, one who was born prematurely and could have increased risk of COVID-19 complications, how could I work the front lines as an experienced emergency room nurse without proper PPE? If I wanted to protect my child from dying, the clear answer is NO WAY!
Nurses need an outlet more than ever. What do you think?
If you are a nurse working with COVID-19 units, and you have something you want to share about your current work situation, but feel afraid because of retaliation, you can find the COVID-19: Mission For Masks doc here.
Feel free to leave a comment.
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🏥 Urban Zen Integrative Therapist