This past Friday over 1,100 nurses from all across Pennsylvania joined a Zoom meeting with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and several top officials from her team at the Department of Health. 

What a powerful display of nurses’ determination to advocate for patients and residents. This was by far the largest single meeting of nurses we’ve organized, and a real testament to your commitment to shape Pennsylvania’s plan for recovery. As a grassroots organization, we’re learning as we go, figuring out how to build a nurse movement in the time of physical distancing, and it’s amazing so many nurses were able to come together, despite some technological challenges and speedbumps we ran into with such a large turnout.

{{FirstName or ‘everyone’}}, here’s the biggest takeaway from the meeting: we met because the expertise and courage of nurses is needed to ensure that when we lift stay at home orders we do it safely—for caregivers, patients, and all our communities. With the strength of 1,100 nurses, we asked Secretary Levine to commit to including us in developing Pennsylvania’s recovery plan, and  she said YES! 

In turn, we committed to Secretary Levine to continue to speak out and advocate for policies that reflect scientific and medical knowledge, with her team, with the public, and with the legislature, where many lawmakers seem to believe that the COVID-19 crisis is firmly behind us. 

While we prepare for our next meeting with Dr. Levine, we need to do two things right away,

1. Develop a strong nurses’ platform for Pennsylvania’s recovery. With 4000 nurses completing our survey and many great ideas raised in Friday’s brainstorming break-outs, we’re well on our way. But make a plan to discuss a draft on the next call, Thursday the 30th at 7:30PM. (Please note the date change from what was announced last week!) 

2. Get ready to share our platform with the press and legislators during Nurses Week, May 6 – May 12. Legislators in Harrisburg must respect nurses’ expertise as we craft Pennsylvania’s recovery plan. That means meeting with us and taking action on our priorities.

  • On our next meeting on Thursday, we’ll talk through our plans to use Nurses Week to raise our demands around safety in the recovery and nurses’ seat at the table. 
  • Even if you can’t join Thursday’s call, mark your calendars for Wednesday May 6th, the first official day of Nurses Week. We’ll hold a big virtual rally and press conference to speak  to the press and the public about what real support for nurses means. Hint: it’s not empty statements of “I love nurses” or free cookies.  
  • On Thursday May 7th, nurses will host a big legislative meeting to share our plan in detail with every legislator who cares enough to show and listen to nurses in a pandemic. Legislators who don’t show up can expect to feel the heat. 

Our meeting with Dr. Levine was an important opportunity to learn more about the Wolf Administration’s principles for living with the pandemic (Link here  it’s everything Dr Levine reported on.) It was also an important opportunity for her to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on already unsafe staffing levels, the lack of PPE, proper equipment and workplace protections, and about how we’re assuming enormous risk to ourselves, our families, and everyone in our communities risking our lives and safety to care for families and communities, and much more. 

Nurses have an incredible opportunity to really shape the way PA handles COVID-19  and that means the ability to keep people healthy, save lives, and reduce the danger we face ourselves. To grab this chance, we need to move quickly. Here’s a checklist for the week ahead:

1. Join Nurses of PA for our Statewide Meeting on Thursday the 30th at 7:30PM. Click here to RSVP.

2. You can click here to RSVP for Nurses Take Harrisburg: Nurses Week Virtual Rally for our Nurse Platform on Wednesday, May 6th at 4PM.

3. Click here to sign yourself up for the Nurses Week Legislative Briefing and Discussion Thursday, May 7th, at 4PM, to talk with legislators what nurses and our patients need in Pennsylvania’s recovery plan. 

  • Then, call your legislators right away and invite them to join us – at 4:30PM on Thursday May 7th.
  • To invite your Senator, you can use our Senate Hotline: 855-410-1936
  • To invite your Representative, you can use our House Hotline: 844-854-1901
  • Legislators should RSVP by contacting info@nursesofpa.org.

– Nurses of PA