Tampa Bay nurses join nationwide protest over working conditions during pandemic

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Nurses across the country are protesting working conditions in the middle of a pandemic. They’re calling it a day of action.

In Tampa Bay, nurses have gathered outside James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital to protest what they’re calling unsafe working conditions. They want their employers to put patients and nurses over profits.

It’s one of more than 200 protests scheduled across the country today.

The organizer, National Nurses United, says nurses are stretched thin, and when they are out sick, those on the clock are forced to pick up extra shifts and patients. They say employers should test nurses more frequently and do what they can to make sure patients aren’t exposed to coronavirus.

“We haven’t had the optimal staffing that’s required to take care of these patients properly. We have to put our PPE on and take it off make sure that we don’t contaminate anything. The nurses are doing a lot of the work that other ancillary departments would usually do because we’re trying to limit people coming into the rooms. So it’s it’s hard to tell it’s hard to take care of the patients properly with the nurses, with the amount of staffing that we have,” said Judy Preuss, a nurse.

When it comes to PPE, nurses say there isn’t enough. Often they have to reuse equipment like masks, gowns, and face shields.

“We want to take care of our patients safely. And it’s the hospitals responsibility to provide a safe environment and safe staffing. And you know, all the patients, they’re somebody’s mom and dad. I want my mom and dad taken care of the right way,” said Barbara Murray, a former nurse.

Nurses are also calling on the federal government to pass the HEROES Act. The pending bill would offer protections for health and essential workers, and increase the production of PPE equipment.

Three protests are planned at the following locations in Tampa Bay:

RN’s at Oak Hill Hospital rally for PPE and Safe Staffing: Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 8:00 a.m., Oak Hill Hospital, 11375 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34613

HCA RNs March for PPE and Safe Staffing: Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 11:00 a.m., HCA West Florida Division Office, 3031 N. Rocky Point Dr, Tampa, FL 33607

RNs at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota rally for PPE and Safe Staffing: Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 6:00 p.m., Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, 5731 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233

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