SILVER SPRING, MD—The American Nurses Association (ANA) advocated for and supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires employers to better protect nurses from COVID-19 hazards in the work environment.
This standard, published in the July 6th Federal Register, recognizes that nurses must have the most stringent levels of safety protections to provide the highest quality care to their patients. Critically, the ETS requires that employers provide better protections for nurses by developing and implementing plans to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. Nurses who care directly for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must also be protected by approved respirators, which include single-use N95 respirators, elastomeric respirators, and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR). Employers must also provide gloves, gowns, and eye protection. This requirement applies regardless of the nurses’ vaccination status. Employers are also required to screen health care personnel daily for COVID-19, provide COVID-19 tests at no charge to the employee, and to support employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
The ETS also empowers nurses to advocate for meaningful safety improvements during the duration of the emergency standard, as well as providing whistleblower protections for employees who raise safety concerns.
“While ANA is pleased that OSHA took the rare step to issue this new emergency standard, it is long overdue as nurses have been—and continue to be—at high risk for exposure to COVID-19.” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “ANA has been calling for specific safety protections from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and while this ETS is beneficial, it is not a replacement for a permanent standard with strong respiratory protections, which remains a necessity. According to OSHA’s own materials, by the end of May 2021 nearly 492,000 health care personnel had contracted COVID-19 and more than 1,600 had died. More must be done to protect our nation’s nurses and frontline health care workers from the ravages of this pandemic.”
A comprehensive survey in February 2021 by the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation) found that 74% of respondents said that consistent and better executed national health policies and public intervention plans will better prepare for future crises or pandemics. Nurses understand the critical role the federal government plays in ensuring their safety. They also know that this pandemic is not over, and that the future will inevitably bring new pandemics and public health crises. Nurseslives must not be endangered because policymakers have failed to take actions to adequately prepare. ANA is committed to protecting nurses and frontline health care workers. It will engage with OSHA on the implementation and enforcement of this ETS and continue to advocate for permanent protections from infectious agents in health care delivery.
Except for a few requirements, OSHA expects employers to comply with the ETS as of July 6, 2021, and nurses are able to comment on it through July 21, 2021. ANA encourages nurses and health care personnel to learn about the new requirements and to understand how to report violations, by visiting OSHA’s website. ANA members can also access our Policy Brief on the ETS here.
SILVER SPRING, MD –Jessica Castner, PhD, RN-BC, FAEN, FAAN, has been selected as the 2021-2022 National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence. Supported for nearly 30 years by the American Academy of Nursing (Academy), the American Nurses Association (ANA), and the American Nurses Foundation (Foundation), the Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence is a year-long immersion experience for an Academy Fellow to leverage their expertise and play a prominent role in developing health policy at the federal level while engaging in interprofessional collaboration with scholars at NAM.
Operating under a Congressional charter, the National Academy of Medicine is a premier institution that provides evidence-based solutions and offers comprehensive policies to advance public health and address health inequities, such as the recently released Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equityreport. Through these reports and their work, NAM is catalyzing critical health issues to the forefront of the public eye as well as to policymakers’ agendas. The Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence position provides crucial nursing perspectives to better support the public’s health.
Dr. Castner is the President and Principal Investigator/Consultant of Castner Incorporated, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Emergency Nursing. An expert in emergency and environmental health, Dr. Castner hones her clinical, entrepreneurial, and research experience to develop the next generation of telehealth and emergency care that understands and addresses social determinants of emergency medicine utilization in order to create more equitable care. Her pioneering work to integrate environmental health research, emergency nursing, and data science modelling within a social justice framework has enabled her promotion of healthy environments and prevention of health emergencies.
“I am honored to be selected as the Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence at NAM as this role will provide an opportunity to use my skills in a way that will have a profound impact on climate policy, nursing’s role in environmental justice, and the future well-being of our nation,” said Dr. Castner. During her time as the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Castner will maximize the opportunity for interprofessional collaboration to continue her work on environmental health equity initiatives.
“Our relationship with NAM, especially in regard to selecting a Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence, helps to reinforce the Academy’s mission to improve health and advance health equity by collaborating with experts and disseminating nursing knowledge. Selection to this post enables our Fellows to use their nursing lens to chart a course for improved health outcomes through policy,” said Academy President Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN.
“Congratulations to Dr. Castner. Her work at the intersection of telehealth and emergency care to bolster health equity is more important than ever as health care delivery systems recover and rebuild in communities across the nation. I look forward to supporting Dr. Castner’s journey as a NAM scholar,” said ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program is a shining example of nurse excellence that continues to bridge contemporary nursing practice and health policy.”
“Dr. Castner will bring a wealth of nursing knowledge and innovative concepts to NAM to address social and particularly environmental determinants of health, which contribute to the vast health disparities in our society,” said American Nurses Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge. “We must have nurses’ expertise and voice at every policy table to change the trajectory of equitable health for all.”
The review committee responsible for selecting this year’s Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence included Academy Board member Debra Barksdale, PhD, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, FAANP, FAAN; ANA President Ernest Grant; Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge; and NAM Director of Health Policy Fellowships and Leadership Programs Gregg Margolis, PhD. To learn more about application process and the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program, visit www.aannet.org.
“American Nurse Heroes”, produced by the American Nurses Association (ANA), Al Roker Entertainment (ARE), and HealthCom Media, premieres on Thursday, June 24 at 8:00 PM ET, on Discovery Life. The special will feature inspiring true stories of nurses who selflessly provide expert, compassionate care on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional airings include June 26 at 10 AM ET on Destination America and 11 AM ET on the American Heroes Channel. It also will be broadcast in various NBC markets throughout the weekend. (Visit My American Nurse.com for full details).
“We are honored to be a part of a campaign that celebrates the courage, commitment, and resiliency of nurses, even under the most extreme conditions,” said Anna Courie, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, Director, Responder Wellness at FirstNet. “During national emergencies and in everyday situations where seconds count, FirstNet’s secure network provides healthcare professionals, first responders and emergency response teams access to high-speed data, images, and video.”
“It has always been important for nursing professionals to incorporate the latest scientific evidence and technology tools into their practice,” said ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, who will also be featured in the one-hour TV special. “We are fortunate to have FirstNet be a part of the “American Nurse Heroes” campaign, as we honor all nurses for their immeasurable contributions to improving health and health care not only during a crisis but each and every day.” Numbering more than 4.2 million strong, nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals in the country, and the profession the public consistently ranks as the most honest and ethical. Marking its 125th anniversary this year, ANA continues to be the strongest voice for the profession.
Produced by Al Roker Entertainment, an industry-leading producer of original, award-winning TV programs and digital content led by Emmy-winning TV personality, Al Roker, American Nurse Heroes will highlight innovative solutions nurses have created during this unprecedented time. From vaccine distribution to unique circumstances within the public health system and schools, nurses share challenges they have faced while exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. “The men and women featured in the “American Nurse Heroes” TV special set the bar for nursing excellence and embody what makes nursing the most trusted profession in the U.S.” said Greg Osborne, Founder and President of HealthCom Media. The company publishes American Nurse Journal, the official journal of the ANA.
“As a New Yorker, I am well aware and appreciative of the heroic actions nurses perform daily, and remain captivated by their resilience,” commented television personality and Executive Producer, Al Roker. “My team at Al Roker Entertainment is thrilled to bring these authentic and incredibly moving stories to light, while providing much-needed insight into the frontlines of healthcare.”
Today, March 11th, marks the one-year anniversary of the day when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. Over the past year, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA) more than 500 nurses* in the U.S. have made the ultimate sacrifice – losing their life to COVID-19, often succumbing to the disease after caring for patients afflicted with it.
In honor of their sacrifice, ANA encourages everyone to join together on the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and remember those nurses and health care professionals we have lost. This remembrance might take the form of a moment of silence at the start of the day and/or lighting a candle in honor of the fallen.
“On behalf of the ANA Enterprise, I extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, colleagues, and communities mourning the fallen”, said ANA President Ernest Grant, PHD, RN, FAAN. “This solemn occasion is a time to honor these remarkable men and women and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives, so that others may live”.
“Now is the time for us all to recommit to take all necessary actions to protect health care workers and continue to stem the spread of this deadly disease—such as wearing a mask, hand washing, and social distancing,” said Grant. “ANA will continue to urge Congress and the Biden Administration to take action to provide resources to address the trauma, grief and PTSD of nurses and frontline health care workers, the critical failures of the supply chain for PPE and other supplies, and hazard pay to maintain a ready nursing workforce. The American Rescue Act will move us in the right direction, but more will need to be done to rebuild the public health infrastructure and workforce, maintain it in the future, and restore the health of communities nationwide.”
We can and must honor the legacies of the fallen by taking the actions necessary to protect health care workers and the public from future threats.
*Based on ANA’s tracking of nurses’ deaths reported by news organizations or other sources.
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