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Recommendations for Improving National Nurse Preparedness for Pandemic Response: Early Lessons from COVID-19

Recommendations for Improving National Nurse Preparedness for Pandemic Response: Early Lessons from COVID-19
Tener Goodwin Veenema; Diane Meyer; Sue Anne Bell; Mary Pat Couig; Christopher R. Friese; Roberta Lavin; Joan Stanley; Elena Martin; Michael Montague; Eric Toner; Monica Schoch-Spana; Anita Cicero
Date posted:
June 10, 2020
Publication type:
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
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The rapid evolution and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed insufficiencies in the US health system to respond to a public health emergency, resulting in healthcare worker infections and deaths.1 Nurses have played and will continue to play a pivotal role in the response, yet compelling evidence from nurses in the field reveals a lack of access to personal protective equipment; inadequate knowledge and skills related to pandemic response; a lack of decision rights as they relate to workflow redesign, staffing decisions, and allocation of scarce resources; and a fundamental disconnect between frontline nurses and nurse executives and hospital administrators. These issues were brought to light in a recent survey conducted by the American Nurses Association, which found that 87% of nurses fear going to work, 36% have cared for an infectious patient without having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and only 11% felt well-prepared to care for a COVID-19 patient.2 The efforts put forth by frontline nurses in caring for patients and ensuring the sustainability of health system operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite these challenges, is inspiring. However, there is a critical and compelling need to identify and understand the gaps and inadequacies in the US health system that have contributed to a lack of pandemic readiness, both within and outside of the nursing workforce, including in emergency planning and the procurement and allocation of resources such as PPE and ventilators.



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