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San Diego nurses concerned over personal protective equipment

Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 23:49:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Becky Buckingham is a nurse in the intensive care unit at Kaiser in San Diego. She has cared for patients who have tested positive for COVID19.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say it's concerning and every nurse is fearful in going into these patients’ rooms,” Buckingham. “I think every nurse is eventually going to be impacted by these patients and have to take care of a patient under investigation, ruling out if they have it or not, or if they are actually positive.”

She said nurses have a wide range of emotions when it comes to the current health crisis.

“A lot of nurses that are extremely concerned because maybe they’re pregnant or they have babies at home or they take care of their elderly parents,” Buckingham said. “There’s also been nurses that are like, bring it on. I’ll take what I have to take. This is what I’m here for.”

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been something causing concern among health care workers.

Kaiser’s nurses’ union, the United Nurses Associations of California, recently sent a letter to the California Hospital Association, encouraging the state’s hospitals to immediately postpone all elective procedures and nonemergency surgeries, show hospital caregivers greater transparency in the status of PPE supplies, and partner with nurses to “get the right equipment in the right hands at the right time.”

In response, the California Hospital Association said they support canceling all but essential elective surgeries and agreed to transparency with health care workers regarding PPEs, “especially as [they] know demand is great and supply is short.”

Buckingham believes her hospital has enough PPEs for now, but the future is uncertain.

“Kaiser has been more transparent this week with how they are obtaining more PPE, so I know that they have gone overseas and obtained more PPE that we will be getting in May. I really think it depends on if we flatten the curve and how much impact we put on the hospital system,” Buckingham said.