Many hospital staffs ill-equipped for coronavirus fight: 6 survey findings

Only 30 percent of nurses report that their employers have enough personal equipment in stock to protect them if there is a surge of the new coronavirus infections, according to early results of a new survey.

National Nurses United, representing more than 150,000 nurses nationwide, still is conducting the poll. The union tallied responses as of March 3, from more than 6,500 nurses in 48 states, and shared the results at a news conference March 5.

Six survey findings:

1. Only 44 percent report that their employer has provided them information about COVID-19 and how to recognize and respond to possible cases.

2. Thirty percent of respondents report that their employer has sufficient personal protective equipment stock to protect staff if there is an outbreak at their hospital, and 38 percent said they don't know if their employer has enough stock.

3. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they have been trained on safely putting on and removing personal protective equipment.

4. Sixty-three percent of nurses report having access to N95 respirators on their units.

5. About 29 percent report that their employer has a plan in place to isolate a patient with a possible COVID-19 infection, while 23 percent report they don't know if there is a plan.

6. Only 19 percent report that their employer has a policy to address employees with suspected or known exposure to COVID-19, while 43 percent said they don't know.

"Nurses are confident we can care for COVID-19 patients, and even help stop the spread of this virus, if we are given the protections and resources we need to do our jobs," said Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of National Nurses United and the California Nurses Association.

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