In an opinion piece published by The Hill, Christopher Friese makes a case for critical investment in personal protection equipment for health care workers.
"Protecting health care workers is hard in routine instances. My research team studies how to protect nurses when they give chemotherapy drugs. Similar to caring for patients with COVID-19, nurses who handle chemotherapy need to wear gowns, masks, and gloves to avoid health risks. Nurses have told us that equipment shortages, inadequate training, and product discomfort are common barriers to adequate protection.
This pandemic has exposed decades of neglect. Nurses wearing garbage bags and goggles to care for patients. Hospitals forced to launch donation drives for basic supplies. A flurry of social media posts with sewing patterns for homemade masks. Doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists bruised by mask irritation. And little to no relief is in sight, as supplies dwindle, cases surge, and manufacturing plants sit idle, awaiting instructions...
Masks, gowns, and gloves are not sexy topics. Yet if our health care workforce is depleted due to inadequate protection, who will be there to administer life-saving treatments and deliver care to those in need?"
- Christopher Friese, Ph.D., R.N., AOCN, FAAN
Elizabeth Tone Hosmer Professor of Nursing
Professor, Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health