Viewpoint: White House COVID-19 task force needs a nurse

The White House coronavirus task force should include a nurse to help make the best public health decisions, according to an op-ed penned by Anna Dermenchyan, RN, PhD, and Kristen Choi, RN, PhD.

Dr. Dermenchyan, a critical care nurse and director in the Department of Medicine Quality at University of California, Los Angeles Health, along with Dr. Choi, a psychiatric nurse and assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, authored the piece published by The Hill.

Amid the pandemic, working as a nurse has become more hazardous and stressful, the authors wrote. Though many nurses have died from virus-related complications, nurses across the U.S. continue to show up every day and serve on the front line of the pandemic.

Nurses, the largest healthcare profession in the U.S., are often left out of important decision-making that affects their lives and work. To respond adequately to the pandemic, nurses should be added to all health-related commissions, panels and task forces, according to Drs. Dermenchyan and Choi.

The authors detailed numerous reasons nurses should be included in COVID-19 response teams, including: 

  • The public trusts nurses. The public has selected nurses as the most honest and ethical profession for 18 consecutive years.
  • Nurses' work is diverse. Nurses care for individuals, families, groups, communities and populations of all ages. These unique insights can benefit public health planning, public education, resource allocation decisions and community infection prevention measures.
  • Nurses promote and protect patient health and safety using evidence-based practice. Nurses across the nation are urging policymakers to properly supply healthcare workers with personal protective equipment to protect patients and staff. 
  • Nurses are committed to patient health, not cost, politics, shareholders, profits, appearances or other competing incentives.

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