National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine July-August-September 2021

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NATIONAL NURSE,™ (USPS publication permit number 0807-560/ISSN 2153- 0386 print /ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, July-August-September 2021 (Volume 117/3) is published by National Nurses United, 155 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of or - ganizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commen tary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and health care policy. It is published quarterly, with combined issues in January-February-March (winter), April-May-June (spring), July-August-September (summer), and October-November-December (fall). Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, ™ 155 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announce- ment, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse™ is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or manage- ment trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bonnie Castillo, RN EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Sarah Cecile CONTRIBUTORS Rachel Berger, Charles Idelson, Kari Jones, Chuleenan Svetvilas PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes, Choppy Oshiro we don't know about you, but we feel like we've been riding an endless Covid roller coaster over these past 19 months, punctuated by too many highs and lows to count. After a bad initial surge and a dreadful winter, things were looking up in the new year and in the spring with mass, national vaccinations under way and a new presidency publicly committed to science. But then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in May that vaccinated people didn't need to wear masks and could basically stop taking infection control precautions. That premature lifting of restrictions gave people free license to abandon all the multiple measures that we know work to stop Covid from spreading, and rapidly led to a spike in new infections over the summer. In June, we celebrated a historic win when the Occupa- tional Safety and Health Administration FINALLY issued a new national emergency temporary standard (ETS) on Covid-19 in health settings to protect nurses and other health care workers. This for the first time set nationwide enforceable standards for employers to protect us from Covid. The ETS would not have happened without National Nurses United's relentless advocacy, and we are incredibly proud. Now comes the hard part: enforcing it. You can read more about the new ETS in this issue. Despite that win, though, infections were skyrocketing in many regions, especially the South, Midwest, and more rural areas. Our leaders, unfortunately, ignored science and public health tenets by explaining away our predica- ment as "a pandemic of the unvaccinated." You can read more in this issue about how that type of thinking won't help us control this pandemic. As school restarted, we watched with alarm as millions of children, who are still ineligible for vaccination, returned to in-person learning without the infection control precau- tions they need. Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are way up and our peds nurses are bracing for the worst. And in early October, the United States recorded the grim milestone of more than 700,000 deaths from Covid. And through it all, we nurses have continued to care for the nation, all while our employers want to cut, cut, cut our staffing numbers. Yes, we are suffering a staffing crisis, but it's one entirely manufactured by the hospital industry. Nurses know it is possible to eliminate Covid as we have done with many other highly virulent diseases; we just have to follow science and the precautionary principle in imple- menting the multiple-measures approach to infection control that we know works. And we have to do it together. Not some of us. All of us. Deborah Burger, RN | Jean Ross, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN National Nurses United Presidents Letter from the NNU presidents Stay connected FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: VIMEO: DIGITAL MAGAZINE:

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