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|A message from ANAMASS re:Coronavirus (COVID-19)|
Dear ANA Massachusetts Members,
Nurses play an essential role in leading the delivery of care and advancing the health of their communities. As the professional association representing all nurses in the Commonwealth, ANAMASS takes pride in advocating for patients and the profession, engaging members from the bedside to the boardroom, and finding innovative solutions. Healthcare is consistently at the forefront of concern for the public and for nurses. ANAMASS must be decisive, assured and transparent in communication of these efforts. Policy, legislation, lobbying and legislation are all vital efforts to positively impact the optics of nursing and recognition of nurses as leaders in healthcare. ANA’s ability to advocate and collaborate with bipartisan leaders contributed to Congress’ passage of $8.3 billion emergency spending for COVID-19. Details of the spending package can be found here.
We recognize that in light of the latest COVID-19 developments, the emerging and fluid staffing needs of many nursing employers – both acute care and long-term care, and potential need to redistributed stockpiles of medical supplies to ensure caregiver safety across the commonwealth, nurses are concerned. We are too. COVID-19 is placing demands on a public health system which we know already has weak areas in the access of and care for the vulnerable and the underserved. Nurses are on the front lines every day; we have a professional responsibility to keep up to date with the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Please review Information for Healthcare Workers which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/index.html as well as Information for Healthcare Facilities which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/guidance-hcf.html. The World Health Organization also provides information for both Healthcare Providers and the general public at https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
At the national level, ANA has expressed concerns that the CDC’s interim guidelines released 3/10/20, which included updated recommendations advising that facemasks for clinical providers (including nurses at the bedside) are an acceptable alternative when there is a shortage of N95 respirators, were based solely on supply chain and manufacturing challenges rather than scientific evidence supporting transmission mode and disease prevention. ANA has called on the CDC to investigate and communicate on the transmission mode for coronavirus so that decisions about appropriate PPE are based on the best information available, as well as to identify metrics for when the interim guidance will be rescinded to ensure that clinical providers and health care facilities can prepare to continue caring for their patients and communities. For more information, visit https://www.nursingworld.org/news/news-releases/2020/ana-responds-to-coronavirus-pandemic-declaration/
We recognize that it is extremely important that we have a ready supply of personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of the patient, but also the safety of healthcare providers as well as the public. As many public health organizations, officials, and others have indicated, one of the consequences of the widespread panic over COVID-19 has been misinformation and the general public’s purchase and use of medical supplies in a manner inconsistent with their intended purpose. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has provided the following Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html
ANA and ANA Massachusetts together will continue to lead the efforts to advocate for the best interest of all nurses and the broader healthcare community.