Nurses Say Eastern Maine Medical Center Has Addressed Many of Their Concerns Over COVID-19 Safety Preparations
Earlier today registered nurses at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) highlighted progress that has been made through talks with the medical center concerning its preparedness for COVID-19, announced Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA).
“For the last few months the hospital has cooperated with us and shared important information on their preparations for the spread of COVID-19,” said MSNA President Cokie Giles. “We have been very pleased at the amount of transparency they gave us leading up to the current crisis, and the standards they set for protective equipment to keep both caregivers and patients safe. We were very glad to learn, just last night, that EMMC management has responded positively to many of our suggestions that will help keep nurses, other caregivers and workers and visitors safe from COVID-19 when they come to our facility.”
The nurses asked EMMC to set limits on visitation and enhanced security and screening at hospital entrances.
One outstanding issue between the nurses and the hospital over the use of N95 respirators for the purpose of screening potential COVID-19 patients.
“For months, the hospital has cooperated with us and shared important information on their preparations for the spread of COVID-19,” said President Giles. “Two days ago, they reversed their own policy and told us that we could no longer use N-95 respirators when swabbing patients for this virus.
“They say that they are following the recently-changed CDC guidelines, but those guidelines are inadequate to protect nurses and patients,” said Giles.
The nurses emphasized that, while progress has been made with EMMC, they will keep pushing for the highest safety standards for all patients and nurses.
“Through our union, we have the right and the obligation to speak up in circumstances like these,” said Dawn Caron, Chief Steward for the Maine State Nurses Association and EMMC staff nurse. “Many healthcare workers in our state and in our country cannot hold their employers accountable the way that we can. That is why we are here today, speaking not just for ourselves, but all of the hard-working caregivers who do not have the rights we do.”
The nurses are members of the Maine State Nurses Association, which is affiliated with National Nurses Organizing Committee.