'Horrific working conditions' & 'no end' in sight: 3 nurses tell NYT what working this surge is like

Three nurses wrote to The New York Times about the conditions they're working in after the news publication ran several stories about the profession amid COVID-19.   

Below are some excerpts from the nurses:

"I am routinely expected to care for upward of 12 patients at a time by myself," wrote J. Hagemann, RN, an emergency room nurse in New York City. "I risk patient safety and human dignity and my license every time I come to work. I've had 20 patients by myself for entire shifts. It feels like a war zone." 

The wages offered to travel nurses aren't inflated, the author concluded, writing that the rates are "fair compensation for the horrific working conditions in healthcare."

"I have never put so many people in body bags," wrote Karen Gregory, RN, a nurse in Massachusetts. "And the world is tired of hearing about how overwhelmed I am."

"I started nursing at the beginning of the AIDS crisis," Ms. Gregory continued. "People like to compare the two. There is absolutely no comparison. I did not fear sickening my family with HIV. Even in the large Boston hospital where I worked there were nowhere near the number of deaths in such a short time as I have seen with COVID."

"Coping with this fourth delta wave has made me feel the most helpless, sad and angry since the beginning of the pandemic," wrote Corinna Beyer, a front-line nurse in Denver. "The burnout and PTSD used to feel like a temporary chapter. I see no end now."

Vaccine hesitancy and failure to achieve global vaccine equity, thereby allowing variants to flourish, is "devastating," according to Ms. Beyer.  

"If you get sick, I hope there are healthcare workers left to take care of you," Ms. Beyer concluded. "We stopped feeling like heroes long ago."


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