Nurses need PPE

I’m writing in response to your recent article, “Hospital keeping COVID-19 at bay,” that quotes Dr. Marietjie Slabbert, head of UHNBC’s critical care department, as saying “front-line workers have sufficient PPE supplies.”

If this is true, then perhaps Dr. Slabbert can explain to her fellow colleagues why they are being told they must wear one mask per shift unless it becomes soiled? These same nurses must leave their masks on paper towel while they go on breaks. And just the other day, a nurse tells me she had to wear the wrong-sized gloves on a shift because there were only two boxes available for the entire unit.

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The fact that nurses at UHNBC and across the province are having to take these unconventional measures is deeply concerning. Moreover, it is very disappointing that this article paints a vastly different portrayal of what nurses tell me is their new, unsettling reality.

Nurses are willing to be collaborative, but they deserve to know the truth about the state of PPE supply at their worksites and even more so, they deserve to have their professional judgement respected and have access to the appropriate amount of PPE at all times.

BC has done an impressive job to flatten the curve and nurses are truly thankful for people doing their part. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, it is integral that our health care workers have access to the very supplies that will keep them and their patients safe against COVID-19.

Christine Sorensen, BCNU President


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