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Nurses want change

To the editor:

Every year, between May 6 and 12, National Nurses Week recognizes the important work of nurses. As a local nurse, it’s nice to receive the recognition. A pat on the back here, a pizza party there, and maybe little trinkets that attempt to say, “thanks for all you do.”

While I am appreciative, every year I feel let down. Why? Because what nurses really want for Nurses Week is change. Real, meaningful change that secures a better future for our profession.

While the pandemic was tragic, it brought to light the serious issues in healthcare. COVID19 forced a light bulb moment with the media and public. Finally, everyone realized the importance of our profession and the necessities of the right equipment, resources and staff.

That a-ha moment may have happened in 2020, but problems in nursing existed long before COVID-19. Ask any nurse and they’ll tell you the cyclical problems with nurse staffing that eventually push good nurses from the bedside. And poor nurse staffing is not because of a mythical nursing shortage in Ohio.

It’s because of dollars and cents, a lack of respect and healthcare facilities not wanting to invest in nurses, even though unsafe nurse staffing has proven to lead to poorer patient outcomes, medical errors and nurse burnout.

So this year, I hope you continue recognizing the importance of nurses long after this week and long after this pandemic. If we don’t support meaningful change for the profession, such as with House Bill 163, then I’m afraid of what our future holds. We deserve more. Our patients deserve better.

Bobbie Kearns,

East Liverpool City Hospital

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