Seeing the resistance to vaccines and science, as well as our failure at global vaccine equity, thereby permitting variants to flourish, is devastating. Instead of making it to the light at the end of the tunnel, it seems that we are going to have to learn to see in the dark. And we will.
Your health care workers will pull from deep wells of resilience and give everything, right up to the day we melt into tears, throw our badges down and leave with our middle fingers in the air. If you get sick, I hope there are health care workers left to take care of you. We stopped feeling like heroes long ago.
To the Editor:
Nurses are the backbone of the health care system. Where would the public be without their willingness to work on the Covid-19 front lines and their moral resolve to care for patients despite risks to themselves and their families?
But it is understandable that they are exhausted, with little left to give. Many have moral scars from ethical issues and trauma they experienced while trying to provide the best care to sick and dying Covid patients — lack of personal protective equipment and other supplies, inadequate staffing and poor leadership, bedside attendance at multiple deaths daily, and shifting messages on how to protect themselves and their patients.
It is no surprise to nurses that staffing standards are needed along with hazard pay and supportive resources. Continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results is considered insanity, as Einstein brilliantly stated. It is time for an international Covid health care commission to forge a path forward; otherwise, system collapse may be inevitable.
Connie M. Ulrich
The writer, a registered nurse, is a professor of nursing and medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
To the Editor:
Re “Yes, Nurses Are Heroes. Let’s Treat Them Like It,” by Linda H. Aiken (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 16):
Dr. Aiken documents the significant increase of poor working conditions for nurses, particularly during the pandemic that is causing them to leave this profession. But it is not just the lack of staffing that is causing them to leave but the lack of opportunities for them to have a direct voice in decision-making about their working conditions.