LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Nursing Association President Jamie Brown responded Friday to recent calls from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce that would reduce protections for frontline workers.
Brown, who also works as a critical care nurse at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, denounced efforts to weaken physical distancing and masking requirements, remove personal protective equipment (PPE) guarantees from health care workers and encourage in-person work for those who could work from home.
She called the efforts "dangerously irresponsible," saying nurses and health care workers need the entire community's help to fight the pandemic.
Read her full statement here:
“While Michigan became the focal point of a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Michigan business executives brought forward proposals to remove guarantees of personal protective equipment for nurses and healthcare workers, remove mask mandates in restaurants, encourage in-person work for workers who could work from home, and weaken physical distancing requirements in workplaces. These proposals are dangerously irresponsible and could cost lives. If anything, we need more protective measures, not less.
“Nurses are exhausted. Many hospitals are close to 100% capacity. RNs around the state are being put in the impossible situation of having to decide which patient to attend to. Nurses are working up to 18 hours at a time, often without breaks. We are begging for everyone in the community to do their part. Stay home. Wear a mask. Get a vaccine when you are able. We are barely able to keep our heads above water. We are in crisis. We need our communities’ help.”