NNU Infectious Diseases Survey final results (March-April 2024)

Submitted by njones on

Health Care Employers Across the Country Neglect Essential Infection Prevention Measures

Strong Standards and Robust Enforcement are Key to Protecting Health Care Workers and Patients

RN with bowed head holding sign "Protect nurses, patients, public health."

In March and April of 2024, NNU conducted a nationwide survey of registered nurses (RNs) regarding infection prevention practices related to a range of infectious diseases.

Key Findings:

  • Health care employers across the country are neglecting essential elements of infection prevention, such as screening, isolation, and exposure notification. This jeopardizes the health and safety of nurses, other health care workers, and their patients. About 65% of RNs report having sustained at least one infection at work, such as the common cold, influenza, Covid-19, MRSA, norovirus, and TB.
  • RNs report significant issues with health care facilities’ use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent infectious disease exposures. For example, about two-thirds of RNs report that their facility uses a respirator for tuberculosis (TB) and Covid-19, both of which are well-recognized as aerosol-transmitted and requiring a respirator.
  • Having enforceable standards promotes protections for health care workers and patients. California is the only state in the nation with an enforceable Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard. NNU’s survey found that RNs working in California report higher utilization of protective measures and lower work-related infections than RNs working in other states.
  • Robust enforcement of health and safety standards is key. A strong national infectious diseases standard is necessary to protect health care workers in every state across the country.

Take action: Sign our petition to urge OSHA to craft a national infectious diseases survey to protect health care workers and patients in every state!