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ANA advocates to protect nurses and prevent COVID-19’s spread

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Protecting nurses caring for patients and preventing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthcare facilities and the community continue to be the top priorities for the American Nurses Association (ANA).

At press time, ANA was engaged in ongoing advocacy at the federal level to ensure a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed supplies and to emphasize with all decision makers the importance of having clear, evidence-based protocols to keep nurses, other healthcare team members, and patients safe. The association also called for implementing creative staffing strategies to sustain the nursing workforce during the pandemic.

ANA’s other efforts include:

Education. ANA partnered with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology to offer a free online webinar that focuses on current PPE guidelines, COVID-19 epidemiology, and personal safety. More than 60,000 people registered for the webinar, which can be viewed on-demand. To access this and related webinars and other educational resources visit nursingworld.org/coronavirus. ANA also is hosting Twitter chats to address nurses’ concerns.

Advocacy. ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, met with President Trump to urge the administration to ensure a sufficient supply of PPE, among other key issues. ANA also sent letters to Congress regarding urgent PPE, staffing, and training needs. And as of March 27, more than 107,800 nurses sent nearly 331,000 messages through ANA’s RNAction center urging Congress to immediately increase PPE distribution. Prompted in part by nurses’ advocacy, on March 27 President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides billions of dollars to bolster public health efforts and to deploy critical medical supplies. In addition, ANA has been urging the president to use the Defense Production Act to expand the production and distribution of PPE and other critical supplies. ANA also surveyed nurses nationwide to determine additional needs.

Media outreach. ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, spoke to the media, including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Modern Healthcare, and HuffPost about keeping nurses, patients, and communities safe. Hatmaker and other staff shared nursing’s perspective with CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and other media. ANA, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association co-authored a letter to the public urging people to stay home and practice social distancing, and Grant urged consumers to abide by physical distancing guidelines via a YouTube video.

For updates, go to nursingworld.org/coronavirus and follow ANA on Twitter and Facebook.

Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses 

The American Nurses Foundation recently launched the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses. This national fund is a way for members of the public to demonstrate their appreciation and support for nurses who are caring for patients despite significant risk to their safety and well-being.

The fund will support nurses’ immediate and ongoing needs, which include:

• providing direct assistance to nurses serving on the frontline and across other healthcare settings

• supporting the mental health and well-being of nurses given the unprecedented stress of the pandemic

• ensuring all nurses have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent the spread of the infection, and provide patient care

• driving national advocacy to strengthen public health efforts and deploy critical medical supplies.

A portion of the donations will help support Nurses House, Inc., a national fund for RNs in need. The Foundation is partnering with this organization to help nurses affected by COVID-19.

Through the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses, the general public can thank and support nurses by texting THANKS to 20222 to make a $10 donation.

Johnson & Johnson and the TYLENOL brand have made a $1.5 million commitment to launch this fund.

Learn more at www.nursingworld.org/foundation/programs/coronavirus-response-fund/.

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