Starting November 11, some 18,000 nurses from Northern California will embark on a two-day strike over equipment and what they claim are improper training standards for handling Ebola.
The walkout would affect 21 hospitals and 66 clinics owned by Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, said Charles Idelson, a spokesman for National Nurses United, according to Bloomberg News.
On social media, the hashtag #NursesFightEbola highlights many of the nurse’s concerns.
A press release from National Nurses United, a nurses’ union, sent out a petition urging Congress and President Obama to mandate hospitals protect nurses and healthcare workers. In it, the nurses request “full-body HazMat suits that are body fluid, blood and virus impervious” and “hands-on interactive training on proper donning and doffing.”
The release further states that “Kaiser has shown a complete disregard for the safety of nurses and patients in the face of a disease that the World Health Organization calls the ‘most severe acute health emergency in modern times,’ said Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of NNU and a Kaiser nurse. ‘We will not be silent while Kaiser puts all of us, our families, and our communities, at risk.'”
Several other states have planned strikes next week as well, Bloomberg notes. On November 11, 800 nurses at two non-Kaiser Northern California hospitals will also strike. And another strike taking place that same day in Washington will affect 400 nurses.
Additionally, Bloomberg notes that the NNU plans to hold a “day of actions” on November 12 in at least 16 U.S. states and Washington to draw attention to the purported need for better training and protective equipment to help nurses as they care for patents with the Ebola virus.
There has been one death resulting from Ebola in America so far. And currently there is only one diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. He is Dr. Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who treated Ebola patients in West Africa. He is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York and is expected to make a full recovery.