Amid COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide survey reveals most nurses don’t feel safe in the workplace

Nurses protest in Washington, D.C., over lack of protective gear. Credit: YouTube.

Amid the global pandemic, many nurses feel unsafe in the workplace and fear they could infect their families, according to a national survey released by the National Nurses United.

NNU, a large nationwide union representing registered nurses, released its survey this week of more than 21,200 union and non-union nurses across the United States, and found that “only 24 percent of nurses think their employer is providing a safe workplace.”

The survey revealed that 43 percent of nurses said they are afraid of infecting their families and “only 23 percent of nurses reported being tested” for COVID-19.

The union’s survey also cited that “health care facilities should have designated, separate zones for COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation, and patients for whom COVID-19 has been ruled out.”

According to NNU, facilities should be isolating both COVID-19 patients and patients under investigation “in a negative pressure room,” but only 15 percent of nurses reported that their employers always followed that protocol.

In a press release, the union also stated that nurses are at risk of exposure to the coronavirus because they’ve been forced to reuse personal protective equipment.

The Florida Phoenix has been following the plight of nurses who have been enduring unsafe conditions and protesting over those conditions.

The new survey results come as some hospitals in Florida have refuted allegations about unsafe working conditions and staff shortages. Nurses in several areas of Florida have been protesting over problems in their facilities. Here is a previous Florida Phoenix report on the ongoing issues.

Bonnie Castillo, NNU executive director and RN, said in a written statement:

“Nurses warned about reopening too early, and now this survey shows that nurses are bearing the brunt of premature relaxing of shelter-in-place orders. We are facing a record-breaking number of infections everyday across the country, and more than 165 nurses have died of COVID-19.”

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.