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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

rrive at work following the press conference.

"We are shocked and appalled that Sacred Heart has not fully complied with the CDC guidelines and that there are nurses caring for diagnosed H1N1 patients with no N95 respirators. We have been forced to take drastic action today, addressing this issue directly with the public and the nurses. To keep nurses and patients safe, Sacred Heart absolutely must have a comprehensive flu prevention strategy with an adequate supply of safety equipment and resources. Until that happens, we will continue to be aggressive in our efforts to advocate for the safety of nurses and patients at Sacred Heart Medical Center and educate our nurses about how they can help prevent the spread of H1N1 this winter," said Barbara Frye, BSN, RN, Assistant Executive Director of Labor Relations for WSNA.

WSNA's actions were prompted by a number of reports and formal complaints filed by nurses who are concerned about their own safety and their ability to keep patients safe. WSNA believes that Sacred Heart is in violation of OSHA standards and state regulations on the issues of infection control and an employer's responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. WSNA has filed complaints against Sacred Heart with both the Department of Health and the Department of Occupational Health and Safety at L&I to ensure patient and nurse safety.

"Nurses need the proper equipment and support systems to provide the best possible care. It is unacceptable for nurses to be denied N95 respirators, reprimanded for wearing N95 respirators, and getting sick from caring for flu patients. Nurses deserve protection when caring for diagnosed or suspected H1N1 patients," said Marty Avey, a registered nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Founded in 1908, WSNA is the professional organization representing more than 16,000 registered nurses in Washington State. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of
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SOURCE Washington State Nurses Association
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