Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Amid our global pandemic, some of our heroes last week petitioned for help, just yards away from the White House.

Did you hear their plea for protection?

Clad in red shirts and wearing face masks, union members of National Nurses United stood among 88 pairs of white rubber clogs, each pair representing a nurse who died while fighting the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. To honor their fallen colleagues, they read the names of the dead out loud.

A registered nurse from Washington, D.C. was quoted as saying: “We ask you to imagine the nurse who would have walked in these shoes …Know that these shoes stand for someone who woke up in the morning—or maybe in the afternoon or the middle of the night—who pulled on their scrubs, kissed their children or other loved ones goodbye and headed to work, knowing they were walking into danger.”

Today — one day before the end of National Nurses Week — the number of nurses lost has increased and that is not okay with me.

What is disturbing is that nurses are dying because they are continuing to treat coronavirus patients without proper protective equipment. Even more disconcerting is that nurses are being asked to make troublesome (sometimes deadly) compromises like reusing single-use face masks and gowns, sharing a mask with other personnel, and being in close contact with asymptomatic/untested patients without a mask. And perhaps the most sinister of all, is the relaxing of CDC guidance that shifted from N95 masks being the acceptable standard of protective gear for medical personnel and patients to the sanctioning of commercial grade masks, surgical masks and homemade masks (to counter the dwindling supply of protective resources, with no evidence that they provide any significant protection from the virus).

This is a systemic failure!

I have an abundance of respect and admiration for nurses who have answered the call to provide compassionate and competent care to the sick, injured and wounded. It is unconscionable to ask, let alone expect, these warriors to go into battle against this pandemic without the proper support, equipment, and protection. To complicate things, we not only ask them to sacrifice themselves but their families and loved ones who they return home to.

While our praise and recognition for their efforts are nice, they are not sufficient.

Posted in Associate Blog, News


  1. I have to say that I could not be prouder of our nurses and the sacrifices and risks they are taking. My stepmother is a nurse and she is working at a hospital down in Florida. Every day she goes to the hospital, puts on her protective outfit and does what she and thousands of other nurses around the country are doing-trying to save lives from a very dangerous and many times a deadly virus. God bless all of you. You are truly all brave souls. Be safe.

  2. Thank you so much dear Colette. You have expressed so well. Nurses are our heroes of this time and space. I think of our dedicated nurses at our Akron Mother House that are so attentive to all the needs of our sisters here. They are awesome.

  3. Colette, you are so right on. We feel so helpless in the face of this virus and unable to help or change it. But we can pray while we stay at home so that is what we must do.
    Bless you for your work and all those on the front lines.

  4. Colette, Thank you for keeping this issue up front. It is very scary that such dedicated people are being put in so much danger. They are dedicated and giving. We need to ensure that they are also safe!!!

  5. Colette, Thank you. Covid 19 is uncharted territory for all. The lack of supplies for health care workers is inexcusable. Prayers for all workers.

  6. You are right on target Colette; and here in Michigan at some hospitals where patients with Covid-19 are beginning to decline, they are laying off the very nurses who worked with those patients under horrendus conditions. At the same time, these hospitals are advertising that the facilities are safe again for surgeries. It is all about the money.

  7. Absolutely correct, Colette. In our country, we should not give up giving voice to the front-liners. We cannot accept substandard conditions for our essential employees, including all who work in healthcare settings. Thank you for this.

  8. Thank you Colette!
    Those CDC guidelines were changed, not because of science but because of lobbying by hospitals, among others, who feared laws suits if someone got sick when a health care provider wore a surgical mask instead of the recommended N95. This was because they, hospitals, knew there were not enough N95 masks to supply the need. When this loaning crisis was not yet here, the federal government could have had industry ramp up the production & create a stockpile. Instead of preparing in advance, our leaders chose to respond only once the crisis was in full bloom & even then, not in a planned, systematic manner. A systemic failure indeed!

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