Nurses’ risks during pandemic

In the first month of 2020, the United States watched as China grappled with an outbreak of Coronavirus. At that time, likely nobody thought the same level of measures would ever be needed in the U.S. yet that seems to be happening. Every day, the reality facing the U.S. caused by the virus grows, putting nurses and other health care professionals on the front line. Perhaps now more than ever it is time to reassess safety measures to protect these workers.

Healthcare Finance calls for increased vigilance when it comes to training and compliance of safety protocols by medical professionals. This includes more training on basic measures like proper hand washing and the use of personal protective equipment designed to cover the mouth, nose and eyes. Nurses, doctors and others should take extra precautions when performing any activity that generates respiratory secretions or aerosols. Greater oversight to ensure health care workers comply with requirements is also urged at this time.

In addition to taking steps to prevent unsafe exposure, calls are being made to ensure medical staff are quarantined if and when necessary. This action not only protects them but others whom they may pass any infection onto either knowingly or unknowingly.

At the same time as the need to keep health care workers safe is realized, so too is the impending shortage of these workers. NPR reports that the concern about this may put pressure on health care workers and systems to avoid quarantining people who have been exposed to COVID-19. There will no doubt be a challenge as the nation balances staffing with the safety of medical staff.

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