This morning, nurses from all over the country gathered for a protest in front of the White House to bring about awareness of the ongoing hazardous conditions nurses are being subjected to due to shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). The also honored fallen nurses that have passed after contracting COVID-19 while working.
Organized by National Nurses United (NNU) the largest union for direct care registered nurses (RNs) in the United States – protesters demanded PPE and shed light on the growing number of infected healthcare providers. Many attest to working in life threatening conditions due to lack of adequate protection.The union believes that health care workers require N95 respirators or a higher level of protection as well as other protective gear when caring for patients who may be infected with COVID-19.
Demands for the President
The union demanded that President Trump use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order the mass production of PPE, including N95 respirators, gowns, face shields, gloves and shoe coverings. In addition to their ask, the union also sought the production of ventilators and COVID-19 testing kits.
In addition to the hours long protest and individual letter reading, the union read aloud the names and cities of U.S. nurses who are known to have died of COVID-19 while holding photos of each. According to the union, at least 48 American nurses have died on the frontline.
Past Nurse Union Protests
This protest is not the union’s first attempt to get the attention of the federal government. NNU petitioned OSHA on March 4, 2020 for an emergency temporary standard that would guarantee that health care workers would be provided with the optimal PPE; however, they never received a response. With no federal health and safety standard, some nurses and other health care workers across the country have and will not been provided with adequate PPE to protect them from exposure.