Kaiser nurses plan two-day strike over Ebola safety issues

Registered nurses from Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics in the Bay Area are planning a two-day strike next month to demand tougher Ebola safety precautions, the union that represents the health care workers, said Thursday.
The strike on Nov. 11 and 12 will be part of a national action in 12 states and Washington, D.C. In California, the walkout will include 18,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners at 66 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics.
National Nurses United representatives say they have been unsuccessfully pressing Kaiser to implement a set of stricter Ebola-related controls, including “optimal personal protective equipment” such as full-body hazardous materials suits that leave no skin exposed or unprotected. They also want National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved powered air purifying respirators for their nurses.
The nurses organization is also looking for “continuous, rigorous interactive training for RNs and other health workers who might encounter an Ebola patient.”
Aside from the Kaiser strike, nurses are also planning a work stoppage at Providence Hospital in Washington and at hospitals and clinics in Augusta, Ga.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston; Chicago and other cities.
“With the refusal of hospitals across the country to take seriously the need to establish the highest safety precautions for when an Ebola patient walks in the door, and the failure of our elected leaders in Washington to compel them to do so, America’s nurses say they have to make their voices heard a little louder,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, the union’s executive director.
Kaiser officials say they are moving quickly to be prepared for any Ebola cases that might crop up.
“Our infectious disease experts have fully reviewed the new CDC recommendations, and Kaiser Permanente is augmenting our personal protective equipment to meet or exceed these national standards,” Dr. Stephen Parodi, an infectious disease specialist and director of Kaiser’s hospital operations in Northern California, told the San Francisco Business Times.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.