TAMPA, Fla. — On Thursday thousands of nurses will be marching in state capitals across the country.
“Nurses right now, I’m going to tell you, are very tired. We’re tired so we’ve decided to stand together as a collective to be heard on issues that have been plaguing the nursing field,” said Registered Nurse Lisa Guimaraes.
Nurses are also rallying in Washington, D.C., marching to congress to demand changes.
“Losing one life in an instance that could’ve been prevented is one too many,” said Emily Bloom, organizer of the Florida Nurse March.
She said their working conditions are putting lives at risk.
“We need to feel like we can properly care for our patients and not make mistakes and not make errors because of being rushed for not having the adequate time to provide for our patients giving them the quality of care that they really deserve,” said Guimaraes.
Nurses say they’re forced to care for too many patients at once.
“The pandemic definitely exacerbated these issues but it was a preexisting problem,” said Bloom.
“We’re still in ratios that are five, six, seven sometimes even eight patients per nurse. This is just unrealistic. This causes havoc within nursing itself,” said Guimares.
This is just one of many of the reasons why they’re marching.
“This isn’t just a protest. We want to see changes. We need to see changes for the future of nursing. I fear what would happen if we don’t see changes,” said Guimaraes.
“We have amazing cutting edge, innovative, community hospitals and academic medical centers within the state of Florida. We’re calling on our communities, both citizens and our hospitals, to stand with us and create solutions,” said Bloom.
The big changes they’d like to see include:
- set nurse to patient ratios
- fair and realistic wages
- protecting them from violence against healthcare workers
“Someone can hit us, someone can throw something at us, someone can harm us in any way and there’s no consequence,” said Guimaraes.
“Understaffed, abused, struggling to take care of their families financially, this is not what you think of when you think of nurses or healthcare workers but unfortunately that’s the reality,” said Bloom.
Many feel travel nursing is their only option to make more money, because they’re not getting paid enough.
“Right now I’m traveling. I don’t want to be. I want to be home. I have two kids. I have a husband. I would much rather stay home and get my worth, what I feel like I’m worth,” said Guimaraes.
Nurses hope Thursday’s rallies will spark new policies. They want to partner with local hospitals to make changes so they can feel safe and patients can get the proper care.
“We want to start by ensuring that the hospitals and out patient facilities are adequately staffed based on acuity so it’s not necessarily a number it’s based on how sick the patient is,” said Bloom.
“Stop burning out your nurses. We’re not a revolving door. You just use us, abuse us, and throw us away,” said Guimaraes.
“Pay us more. Allow us to be able to care for our patients proficiently and safely,” she added.