My name is AnnMarie, and I’m one of the nurses on the Nurse Advisory Council coordinating our ongoing discussions with the Department of Health about Pennsylvania’s recovery plan. I wanted to share an update on what’s coming up and as we continue to work with the Department of Health we will need your input.
Click here to RSVP for the next Nurse Advisory Council Meeting with the Department of Health on June 17th at 3PM. And if you weren’t able to join our last call with the Department of Health or want to refer back to it, you can click here to view a recording.
You can click here to share questions or observations with myself and the rest of the Nurse Advisory Council. We’ll receive the responses to this form, review them, use them to inform our report from the meeting as well as preparation for the next meeting. Be assured that even if we can’t send everyone a personal reply, your input is being read and taken seriously!
In addition to our work with the Department of Health it is critical that we keep the pressure on our local legislators to commit to taking action and standing with us on our Nurse Platform. It is not enough to say “ I stand with nurses”. We need legislators to sign onto the nurse platform and the legislation that will make this a reality. You can click here to view The Nurse Plan for PA’s Recovery, along with the list of the 5 Senators and 24 Representatives legislators who’ve signed on so far.
Here are the key strategic points we as a Nurse Advisory Council would like to think through with you in our June 11th Video Meeting for what we would like to present to the Department of Health:
- At the moment guidelines for the reopening of our facilities are left up to our employers and they are not making decisions based on pouting the safety of our patients and coworkers first. We are an asset to the Department of Health and our experience and expertise should be taken seriously. We would like to have a discussion with the department of health asking them three questions:
- What are the guidelines for the reopening of hospitals currently and how can we as nurses have input on those conversations. Also, what are the facts, statistics, and research they are using to create these color codes and how can we make them more clear?
- What are some ways the Department of Health can hold our employers accountable to the guidelines they’ve already created and the ones they will continue to implement?
- For example:
- Opening Hospitals and Facilities up to Visitors
- Guidelines such as having 2 patients in a room
- The reuse of PPE and making sure each healthcare professional receives 1 new mask a day
- How will the Department of Health communicate with us in an ongoing way that shows us that our expertise, suggestions, experience, and knowledge are being considered and how will they inform us of plans and decisions they implement while working with us?
- We want to dig into the plan to Reopen schools for our children, teachers, and school nurses. How do we protect them in this critical moment when we are still learning about the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health recently released their plans, but how much input did our school nurses have in this decision and how can we work together to ensure there is total transparency around decisions like this? To check that out click here for the link.
- We need to make sure the Department of Health is assisting long term care, acute care, and rehab facilities in procuring PPE at a good price, what does the supply chain look like for PA?
- Last but certainly not least, we became nurses to take care of everyone, but our healthcare system is currently not helping everyone equally.
- In Pennsylvania, As Black people make up 11% of the population of Pennsylvania but 29% of COVID-19 cases, and across the country we have seen that people of color and especially Black people are disproportionately likely to die from COVID-19 as well. What is the Department of Health doing to address how the impacts and harm of the pandemic have fallen disproportionately on Black people?
- As people protest systemic violence against Black people across the country. We are also concerned how the frequent use of tear gas and pepper spray on large crowds of people has, by design of those weapons, resulted in large crowds of people coughing and doing other very high risk activities like helping to flush out one another’s eyes. As health care workers, it’s hard to see how violent tactics which drastically increase the public health risk of a large gathering keep people safe. What can the Department of Health do to stop or curb the use of these dangerous weapons on protests?
We’re in a critical moment, and it is up to us to work together to make sure our legislators are not going on break but that they are focused on what matters and that is the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.
And here you can RSVP for the upcoming meetings:
- Statewide Video Meeting: June 11th 7PM
- Nurse Advisory Council Meeting with the Department of Health June 17th 3PM
– AnnMarie Ruggiero, Nurse Advisory Council Member