'War zones': Healthcare workers share front-line accounts of fighting COVID-19

Healthcare workers across the country are sharing their stories of fighting COVID-19 via a private online document created March 19 by Sonja Schwartzbach, a critical care nurse in New Jersey who is doctoral student in nurse anesthesia, The New York Times reported.

The digital venue allows nurses or anyone in the field to anonymously share their experiences in terms of working conditions, personal protective equipment and other issues. They are also asked various questions such as "Do you feel safe going to your place of employment during this time?" and "Do you feel adequately prepared to care for COVID-19 patients?"

As of March 25, 1,253 healthcare workers had used the private online document, according to the Times. Ms. Schwartzbach agreed to share some of the private document with the newspaper.

Four takeaways:

1. Healthcare workers say U.S. hospitals have become "war zones" amid the pandemic.

2. Healthcare workers also report being scared to go to work and anxious that they will contract COVID-19, according to the Times. One nurse wrote, "But we show up and have to keep showing up, and we have to test ourselves."

3. More than 90 percent of the healthcare worker respondents reported lacking the proper equipment to fight COVID-19, particularly N95 masks.

4. About 55 percent of healthcare worker respondents reported caring for COVID-19 patients, and about 26 percent said "they weren’t sure" if their patients were infected, noting challenges with testing.

Read the full Times report here


More articles on workforce issues:

New York hotel to house healthcare workers responding to COVID-19
Texas psychiatric hospital pitches jobs to workers laid off amid pandemic
AMA seeks open visa processing for international physicians amid pandemic

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