Survey: Utah Nurses Fear Some Aren’t Taking Coronavirus Seriously

Apr 1, 2020, 8:22 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Healthcare workers in the cities hardest hit by COVID-19 painted a grim picture of the suffering inside their hospitals. A survey of Utah nurses showed they fear that may be their fate in the weeks ahead.

Nurses across the state said they are not yet feeling an onslaught of COVID-19 patients, but they are bracing for it. They fear that will happen if Utahns don’t do their part to flatten the curve.

“We still are nowhere near what many of our colleagues in other states are facing right now,” said Liz Close, executive director of the Utah Nurses Association.

Utah nurses said they are stressed out about that possibility. That’s according to a survey conducted by the UNA, which received responses from 1,500 nurses statewide.

“We just wanted to get a snapshot of what was currently going on across the state,” said Close.

She said nurses were concerned that a shortage of personal protective equipment would make it challenging for them to protect themselves when they treat patients for COVID-19, but most healthcare locations in Utah were able to meet that demand last week, according to the UNA.

The biggest fear among Utah nurses?

“That the general public is not taking this stay at home seriously enough,” she said.

Healthcare workers said staying home is critical to keeping their hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Nurses said they also fear patients are not always truthful about their symptoms, which could lead to coronavirus exposure among healthcare workers.

“We are in that climbing curve, and we have not seen that onslaught into the acute care in the institutions quite yet,” said the executive director. But we need to be bracing and preparing for that.”

Intermountain Medical Center said they are ramping up their resources for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients in the next three to four weeks. Nurses across the state said they want to be sure the public is prepared.

“They are just really concerned that we flatten the curve in Utah, and that we don’t experience what other states have had to experience,” said Close.

Nurses said that they are confident that their employers are standing behind them, but they acknowledged their employers won’t be able to help if they can’t get the equipment they need — like ventilators and respirator masks — in the weeks ahead.

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Survey: Utah Nurses Fear Some Aren’t Taking Coronavirus Seriously