Nurses in El Paso, across Country to hold National Day of Action Wednesday

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File: May 8, 2020/El Paso Registered Nurses hosted a rally and protest against the suspension of a RN who has spoken publicly about inadequate COVID-19 safety measures.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) –Local registered nurses among others across the country are coming together to demand that employers address problems highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritize safety and workplace protections.

Registered nurse members of the National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union and professional association of RN’s in the country, will hold a national day of action on Wednesday, July 21.

In El Paso, actions will take place 8:00 a.m. at Las Palmas Medical Center located on 1801 N. Oregon St.

RN’s with the association said it’s crucial to win these protections in writing because employers have proven during the pandemic that they will continue to prioritize the bottom line over occupational and public health and safety.

“The hospital should staff appropriately, based on the level of care each patient requires and deserves,” said Juan Anchondo, RN at Las Palmas Medical Center and a member of NNOC. “We know all too well that short staffing leads to delays in patient care and jeopardizes patient safety.  The public deserves quality care, and the nurses are demanding it.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the failures of our so-called health care system and revealed more clearly than ever before that our employers put profits above patients’ and nurses’ health and safety,” said NNU President Deborah Burger, RN. “Nurses across the country are standing up and demanding critical change. Let’s be clear that with the number of COVID-19 cases going back up in some areas of the country, and more contagious and deadly variants spreading, the pandemic is not over. Our employers must act today to address serious issues in our facilities.”

NNU said protections nurses are demanding to include optimal personal protective equipment (PPE), as many nurses still report being told to use the same N95 respirator for an entire shift or for multiple shifts, or not being given an N95 respirator at all. Nurses are also demanding safe staffing levels, and other measures to ensure patient safety during the pandemic.

Nurses are also demanding their employers help protect their patients against racial health disparities that most harm their Black, Indigenous, and patients of color by expanding and preserving health care services, not shrinking, eliminating, and consolidating them to maximize profit. 

“From the start of the pandemic, nurses have called on the hospitals to make appropriate plans, to increase staffing and increase training, to put in place clear infection control protocols, and to observe the precautionary principle by using the highest level of protections when dealing with a novel virus,” said Burger. “The hospitals did not comply, and the consequences have been deadly. Nurses are standing up on July 21 and using our collective voices to demand that our employers put patients first.”

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