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Respirators and H1N1 Information Distributed to Registered Nurses at Sacred Heart Medical Center Out of Concern for Nurse and Patient Safety
Date:11/19/2009

SPOKANE, Wash., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), representing more than 1,600 registered nurses at Sacred Heart Medical Center, is holding a press conference today to highlight serious concerns about the safety of nurses and patients at Sacred Heart Medical Center during this H1N1 pandemic. In response to numerous reports from nurses about unsafe working conditions, WSNA is demanding that the hospital fully comply with CDC guidelines on H1N1 prevention and step up its flu prevention precautions so that nurses and patients are no longer put at risk.

"I'm here today because I'm worried about the safety of my patients and fellow nurses. As a nurse, every day I come to work committed to providing excellent patient care and doing my best to promote health and safety. Nurses are being exposed to H1N1 and we are getting sick. I am one of those nurses. I had the flu, presumed to be H1N1, and it is a serious illness. I deserve to come to work and know that my employer is taking every precaution to keep me healthy," said Kristie Dimak, a registered nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

A lack of access to N95 respirators is one major area of concern for nurse and patient safety. The N95 respirators are recommended by the CDC for use when healthcare personnel are within 6 feet of suspected or confirmed H1N1 patients. Many nurses are reporting that N95s are not readily available on their units when caring for H1N1 patients and many nurses have not been properly fit-tested to ensure that the respirators will be effective. The hospital is claiming that a shortage exists and has already begun implementing policies to conserve their N95 respirators such as reusing N95s and only using them during specific procedures. However, calls to suppliers of the respirators show no such shortage and WSNA was easily able to obtain 3,000 N95 respirators which will be handed out to Sacred Heart nurses as they a
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SOURCE Washington State Nurses Association
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