Being a health care worker has never been tougher. COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, with thousands of American people still in hospitals being treated for the novel coronavirus. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff and working around the clock to save lives. But they don’t always clock off when their shifts end.
Following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of police, one of the countless Black people who have died as a result of white police brutality, #BlackLivesMatter protests have been taking place across the country. Even peaceful protests sometimes lead to violence and injury, and many medical workers are doing everything they can to help protesters.
This often involves going straight from a long, demanding hospital shift to the demonstrations to tend to anyone who’s come to harm, such as those injured by tear gas and rubber bullets used by law enforcement.
Several accounts have been shared on social media, such as the Twitter video posted by Joshua Potash showing several healthcare workers at a Minneapolis protest.
This is amazing.
Nurses have been going straight to protests after long COVID shifts to help treat people hit with tear gas and rubber bullets.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) May 29, 2020
“This is amazing,” Potash wrote in his tweet. “Nurses have been going straight to protests after long COVID shifts to treat people hit with tear gas and rubber bullets.”
One nurse at @honeydipyaya from Los Angeles, Calif. posted that she and other healthcare workers are providing safe spaces for protestors, especially Black, indigenous people of color:
A New York City nurse at @_estherlauren shared her protest sign on Instagram that let people know she was a nurse ready to help.
A nurse at the account @gimmiemosab offered tips for protest attendees to defend against COVID-19:
Covid is still really and I want y’all to be safe! For those at protests, a few tips from a nurse after attending last night: bring an extra mask. Yours will get hot and sweaty so switching it out halfway through is smart. If you have a cloth mask throw a bandana on top too!
— Saba M (@gimmiemosab) May 30, 2020
Saba M. suggests that protesters wear gloves, bring hand sanitizer, and step away from the crowd if they need to pull down a mask to drink or eat. Don’t share water, Saba M. advises, and keep away from vulnerable people once you have returned home.
“Remember, folks are screaming thus it is inevitable that their spit (droplets) are flying,” she pointed out. “Dispose of/wash your mask as soon as you get home. Also, sunglasses or goggles protect your open eyes from exposure too!”
Nurses and frontline healthcare workers of color are among the citizens deeply saddened by the killing of George Floyd, says Martha Dawson, DNP, RN, a professor and the president of the National Black Nurses Association.
“For nurses of color working on the frontlines, it’s disheartening to still realize that you’re living in a country where you’re under-appreciated and judged, first, on the color of your skin, rather than the content of your character,” Dawson told Refinery29. “And you have to recognize that the concern with the death in Minnesota is just now emerging as one stressor on top of the many stressors of the pandemic.”
Kudos to these brave healthcare workers for helping even after putting in a full day’s work!