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UPMC must listen to its nurses

As Blair County ticks over 2,000 known cases of coronavirus, countless residents are seeking life-saving care at UPMC Altoona.

As Registered Nurses, my coworkers and I know what kind of working conditions, staffing and safety protocols are needed to provide quality care for our patients and protect our community from continuing the spread of COVID-19, but UPMC isn’t listening to us.

As nurses, we can only protect our patients and our community if we can properly protect ourselves.

Right now, our hospital is strained by short staffing. We are unable to retain nurses, and we’re using inadequate PPE.

My co-workers and I have had to recycle masks that are not intended to be recycled. We have worked in ripped gowns and eaten our meals in break rooms that are too congested to allow us to socially distance.

We are risking our own health and safety every day to make sure our patients are getting the care they deserve, and we need the leadership from UPMC that this moment requires.

While UPMC has claimed to have things under control in its facilities, nurses and health care professionals are witnessing an entirely different story on the front lines.

If we’re going to double down on preventing the continued spread of this virus, we need safe staffing and clean, appropriate PPE.

Coronavirus cases are surging. We can’t wait any longer.

Leann Oppel

Altoona

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