Faced with mounting public scrutiny for its suspension of 10 registered nurses who refused to care for COVID-19 patients without proper personal protective equipment, Providence Saint John’s Health Center reinstated all the suspended nurses, reports Time.
The Santa Monica, California hospital still filed written warnings in their employment records, California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced.
While the nurses welcome the opportunity to get back to work during this pandemic, they will continue to fight for proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and stand up against the disciplinary actions. The nurses want PPE that provides airborne, droplet, and contact precautions against the virus, as required by Cal-OSHA standards.
Last week, the nurses, including two Filipino American RNs, refused to enter COVID-19 patients’ rooms without N95 respirators after doctors agreed the surgical masks provided by the hospital did not provide adequate protection and a coworker contracted the virus. After the nurses took a collective stand, the hospital opted to provide them N95 respirator masks.
“So the hospital is saying that we are suspended for refusing our assignments, but we’re not refusing our assignments,” said Filipino American RN Allison Mayol. “We’re just doing our best to not work in unsafe environments, we are trying to not contract this disease. We’re trying to keep us safe, and our patients safe, and our community safe.”
Their concerns were especially heightened after a nurse on their floor, which handles COVID cases, tested positive for the virus.
“The following day, five different doctors came to tell our nurses, hey I would not go in that room without an N95 mask — so our doctors were going into the rooms to speak with the patients, treat the patients, but we were still not. At that point, nurses said I don’t feel safe going in there without an N-95 or a respirator,” Mayol told Balitang America.
“We are being disciplined for doing what was the right thing to do: protect the safety of our patients, our community, and the nurses,” said Jack Cline, RN. “After our actions, the hospital changed its policy to provide N95 respirators to RNs taking care of COVID-19 patients, but somehow they are still trying to intimidate and retaliate against us for speaking out for the critical protective equipment that we need.”
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