Nurses to Lawmakers: ‘We Are Exhausted’
The state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate continues to shatter records, climbing above 20 percent this week. The good news is new COVID-19 hospital admissions are lower than the November 2020 surge when the vaccine wasn’t yet available.
While new COVID hospitalizations may be lower, other procedures have ramped back up and the number of hospital staff out is much higher. And that has nurses expressing concern over current conditions at local hospitals.
Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, is an ICU nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. She says conditions are concerning.
“We are exhausted, but we are not tired of caring for our patients,” said Turner.
Thursday morning, more than 100 nurses from across the state participated in a virtual town hall meeting with state and federal lawmakers. The health care workers shared their experiences dealing with the COVID-19 surge.
“We are tired of working without the support and the resources we need to provide quality patient care,” said Turner.
Kelley Anaas, an ICU nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, says many nurses are out sick because of the highly contagious omicron variant.
“We’re averaging 90 ill calls a day from nurses at Abbott,” she said.
Health care workers called on hospital administrators to show more respect and compassion.
“Support us if your kids have a COVID exposure at school, help us get the testing that we need so that we’re not showing up and infecting our coworkers,” Anaas pleaded.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose dad died from COVID-19, said she understands their concerns and is working on several legislative measures to protect the safety and well-being of hospital workers.
“A lot of us are listening, and these testimonies will lead to creating some incredible changes that are necessary in order for you all to have safe places to work,” said Omar.
The Minnesota Nurses Association also called out some hospital administrators accusing them of putting profits over patients.
“Nurses are fed up. We are ready to fight and win for our patients,” said Turner.