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Kershaw Health nurses call for stricter COVID-19 protocols

Published: Apr. 5, 2020 at 10:51 AM EDT
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KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Concerned nurses at Kershaw Health are asking for stricter regulations at the hospital in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

"All we wanted was to be protected so we could give a better quality of care," one nurse said.

Nurses at Kershaw Health say they don’t feel the proper protections are being put in place.

"I feel very unsafe for nursing personnel, and for the general public," another nurse from the hospital said. "They're not doing enough to protect their staff. We're being asked to do things that we know are not appropriate especially in regards to wearing our Personal Protective Equipment."

These nurses say they aren’t just concerned with their safety, they’re worried about the spread of the virus.

"There's not even a requirement to say the nurses on the COVID unit are not allowed to walk in the other part of the hospital," one nurse said.

“They’re saying that this virus can remain on certain surfaces for so many hours-on your clothes, on your hair, on countertops,” the other echoed. “Now you’re walking around the hospital or going to the cafeteria, you are potentially exposing everyone in the cafeteria now.”

Kershaw Health CEO Susan Shugart says, even without firm direction, she believes the staff at Kershaw Health have always been great about taking precautions, and she doesn't think that's changed.

“There’s been nothing said, in any guidance, about restricting staff to a certain area of the hospital. From any authority,” Shugart said. “You’re going to have physicians who do that, you’re going to have respiratory therapists who do that, you’ll have physical therapists who do that. We have been blessed to dedicate nursing staff to specific, you’re either caring for a known COVID-19 or PUI cohorts[person under investigation]. But across other disciplines, we don’t do that. So we follow, and they do every day, the absolute standard in caring for infectious patients.”

The nurses we spoke with also say you may be required to work on the COVID unit for part of their shift, but may then be pulled away to a completely different medical unit for another part of their shift if needed.

They tell me they want to see the hospital work to put protocols in place that will limit this type of potential exposure. CEO Sue Shugart says, if you’re assigned to the COVID-19 designated unit, you’ll remain there for the entirety of your shift.

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