Kansas nurses group talks working conditions during pandemic


Nurses Mindy Brock and Ben Cayer, wearing protective equipment, hold each other and look into each other’s eyes in Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla. “Everybody’s talking about the photo,” says Cayer, 46. It strikes a chord “because we’re all going through the same thing right now and it’s a symbol of hope and love.” Brock, 38, adds: “What’s important is that we stick together, we work together, and we always support each other. And not just Ben and I, but the human race right now.” (Nicole Hubbard via AP)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – For some nurses in the Sunflower State, their biggest concern isn’t just their safety, but the fear surrounding the coronavirus. One of the biggest sources of that fear is not having adequate personal protective gear.

Other issues include housing and their exposure to family, along with hazard pay and stress. The Director of the Kansas State Nurses Association, Kelly Sommers, is concerned about how all of this will affect nursing in the future.

“Do they get to the point where there’s burnout, or do they get to the point where they’re not seeing that people are taking care of them in the workplace or in our government? If they’re neglected that way, are they then going to want to continue in nursing? And that includes students when they decide to go into nursing,” Sommers said.

Sommers adds it’s unknown how long conditions like this will last. As director, she does a weekly call with members of the association to understand their issues. Some are getting pay cuts, others are being furloughed or given layoffs.

“When you see nurses under this amount of stress, a nurse normally is not about taking care of ourselves we take care of everybody else,” Sommers said.

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