ENA Requests President-elect Biden Include Nurses on COVID-19 Task Force
November 13, 2020 • Advocacy COVID-19
The Emergency Nurses Association sent the following letter to President-elect Biden after the announcement that his COVID-19 Task Force did not include any nurses.
Dear President-Elect Biden:
On behalf of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and its 52,000 members, I am writing to offer the support and expertise of ENA and its members as you prepare to take office in the midst of this unprecedented public health crisis. We look forward to working with you and your administration over the next four years to tackle some of the most urgent challenges of our nation’s health care system, especially as it relates to emergency care provided to patients.
ENA applauds your recent creation of a COVID-19 task force to assist you in addressing this crisis from the first day of your Administration. The thirteen members you have named are a group of highly qualified professionals who will provide your administration with expert advice based on sound evidence and research. However, we were surprised that although the group contains ten medical doctors of varying specialties, there were no nurses – and especially those nurses who are providing care on the front lines during this pandemic or have clinical expertise in infectious disease management - named to the task force.
As you know, nurses are a critical part of any effective response to a major public health crisis. COVID-19 is no different. Nurses, including emergency nurses, have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since day one, performing critical triage, testing and bedside care functions for their patients. The first and last person a patient encounters at the hospital is usually a nurse. They are the health care professionals who have the most contact with patients. Emergency nurses and other frontline nurses have heroically served their communities, often without appropriate levels of personal protective equipment necessary to keep themselves, their patients and their families safe. Many nurses have contracted COVID-19 themselves. Too many have died as a result.
As the most trusted profession in the country, nurses play a vital role in pandemic preparedness and response, as well as providing medical care and comfort to patients battling COVID-19. As the surge in cases and hospitalizations are expected to continue in the months ahead, the nursing perspective will be critical as your team prepares to address the crisis. Once a vaccine is approved, nurses will play a critical role in its administration to the public. Accordingly, we respectfully request that you consider placing nurses with experience and expertise in pandemics, the frontline treatment of patients and infectious diseases on the COVID-19 task force.
Again, ENA commends your efforts to prepare your administration to tackle this enormous public health crisis. However, we also request you expand the membership of your COVID-19 Task Force to include the unique perspective and clinical expertise of America’s nurses.
Mike Hastings, MSN, RN, CEN
2020 ENA President