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Our #NursePlatform: The Nurse Plan for Pennsylvania’s Recovery

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Now is the time to stand with nurses to demand that nurses have a say in the decisions being made about our patients and profession in Pennsylvania’s recovery plan. We need decision-makers to work with us to implement our #NursePlatform: The Nurse Plan for Pennsylvania’s Recovery.

In this moment, being a nurse means guiding the PA recovery plan. We’re trained to advocate for our patients and residents and for the health of our communities. If you come to our facility, we want you — and us — to be safe and get well. But we’d prefer not to see you in our ICU’s. That’s why, as the Commonwealth turns from flattening the curve to organizing life with COVID-19 and no reliable vaccine, nurses’ experience, knowledge, and courage should guide every aspect of planning.

Nurses support a safe recovery, which must be guided by healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the pandemic. Nurses want businesses and daycare centers re-opened. We want to schedule important elective surgeries, send our kids to school, and hug our friends and families. The sooner we can do these things safely, the better. But how and when we choose to do these things are literally matters of life and death, and we need to get it right.

It’s time to put patient and public health advocacy above partisan politics. Pennsylvania’s legislators cannot continue to plan a pandemic recovery without nurses.

Here’s how to do it right: The Nurse Recovery Plan for PA. We expect any plan for Pennsylvanian’s recovery to be guided by nurses’ expertise. Along with other medical professionals, we are united in our demand that any plan to put Pennsylvania back to work be accompanied by The Nurse Plan for Pennsylvania’s Recovery:

Adequate PPE now and for the future.

  • Get workers on the frontlines the PPE we need to do our jobs right now, and to prevent workers from becoming sick or taking COVID-19 back to our families and communities.
  • Clear guidelines and accountability for facilities on proper usage.
  • Meaningful Investments to expand stockpile of PPE for workers — if we get another surge, we have to be ready.

Widespread rapid testing and contact tracing.

  • We must be able to prevent outbreaks from becoming untraceable surges.
  • Any plan for testing and contact tracing needs to be supported by health professionals and the Department of Health.
  • Frontline workers employed to conduct testing and contact tracing should be paid.

Paid sick time for every essential worker.

  • Sick people must be able to stay home instead of turning our workplaces into vectors of the pandemic.

Nurses must have a seat at every table where recovery plans are being made.

  • This platform does not lay out the details of every policy possible. We are working on the frontlines busy doing our jobs. We need elected leaders to do theirs.
  • But we must have a voice in the decisions being made. Everywhere they’re being made.
  • We will face new developments and challenges throughout our process of recovery, and listening to us today will not be enough if you do not listen to us tomorrow.

Workplace protections for nurses advocating for our patients.

  • Nurses must have a meaningful say in Pennsylvania’s recovery, be we cannot do so if we are afraid to speak out for fear of retribution.
  • Every nurse must have the right to form a union.
  • Every nurse, with or without a union, must be protected from retribution for advocating for their patients beyond the bedside.

Get people the healthcare they need, regardless of the money they have.

  • We know that residents of Pennsylvania who likely had Coronavirus did not seek treatment for fear that they could not afford the bills. And under most insurance plans, people who seek testing but test negative are responsible for the costs. This makes all of us less safe and contributes to the spread of COVID-19.

We must take steps to ensure things never get this bad again.

  • We need Safe Patient Limits for hospitals, nursing homes and school nurses — we entered a pandemic while nurses were already dangerously understaffed, burned out, and leaving the bedside in droves.
  • We need more nurses. Let’s create robust supports for a strong nurse pipeline, offer loan forgiveness programs for people who want to enter the profession.
  • As we confront the need to innovate learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that nursing students have access to necessary training, mentoring and safety protections as they complete their education and enter the workforce in the midst of the pandemic.

Are you a nurse or community member who wants your legislators to support the #NursePlatform?

Here are the legislators who have officially signed on to our #NursePlatform so far:

Sen. Larry Farnese (D-1)
Sen. Maria Collett (D-12)
Sen. Pam Iovino (D-37)
Sen. Lindsey Williams (D-38)
Sen. Katie Muth (D-44)

Rep. Dan Frankel (D-23)
Rep. Ed Gainey (D-24)
Rep. Austin Davis (D-35)
Rep. Pam Snyder (D-50)
Rep. Steve Malagari (D-53)
Rep. Liz Hanbidge (D-61)
Rep. Tina Davis (D-141)
Rep. Wendy Ullman (D-143)
Rep. Joe Webster (D-150)
Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-155)
Rep. Carolyn Committa (D-156)
Steve Barrar (R-160) – Filled out pledge form but has not signed on to legislation yet
Rep. Leanne Kreuger Braneky (D-161)
Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172)
Rep. Mary Isaacson (D-175)
Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181)
Rep. Donna Bullock (D-195)
Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-197)

Are you are a Pennsylvania legislator ready listen to nurses on the frontlines of COVID-19?

If you are a legislator and are committed to work with us to implement The Nurse Plan for Pennsylvania’s Recovery, please click here to complete the Legislator Sign On form and be included in this list of legislators who have signed onto our platform.