At the beginning of the pandemic, nurses would leave their hospitals at the end of a long shift and onlookers would clap and cheer for their heroism. When there was a shortage of protective gear, nurses risked their lives by showing up to work, donning garbage bags over their scrubs. It's no wonder that the WHO designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse. But despite nurses immeasurable sacrifice and service during this pandemic, their expertise is being overlooked in a big way.
Recently, President-elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board. And while this group of experienced, well-respected public health experts, physicians, academics, and commissioners is a massive improvement from Trump's task force, there isn't a single nurse on Biden's COVID response team.
Make no mistake -- nurses are the backbone of health care. They are the largest professional health care workforce in the U.S. They have shouldered the burden of frontline care of patients infected with a novel virus we knew little about eight months ago, without adequate resources to protect themselves and their patients.
To avoid glaring oversights in how the incoming Biden administration responds to the pandmeic, nurses need a seat at the table to share their unique insights on how to better equip and protect frontline care workers from contracting the virus, and burning out -- two harrowing obstacles that have led to understaffed hospitals, and devastating consequences for the American public.
Moreover, the task force can rely on nurses' expertise to increase access to rapid testing, create a workforce of contact tracers, and prioritize vaccines for at-risk populations, particularly communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus.
The majority of the American public is counting down the days until our leadership finally returns to a model founded in science and compassion. We see the possibility of turning a corner on this virus. To finally defeat COVID-19, we need a registered nurse in the room where pandemic-related decisions are being made.
Sign the petition today to urge President-elect Biden to add a registered nurse to his COVID-19 advisory board.