READ THE SUMMER ISSUE
ABOUT THE ISSUE
- 2020 Salary Survey
- Discover Nurse-Led Innovation
- Finance 101: What New Nurse Managers Need to Know
- The Fear of Caring: Novice Versus The Experienced Nurse
- Trailblazer in Nursing: A Major Career Accomplishment
- Surviving COVID-19: When Nurses Need Advocates
Our Essential Workers Deserve Better
The onslaught of bad news over the last few months is enough to make anyone despair: the death toll from COVID-19; the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other African Americans by racist cops; the closing of neighborhood businesses and the high unemployment rate; the forced isolation from everyone we hold dear; and the cancellation of basically anything we were looking forward to this year.
On top of everything else, we’re seeing what seems like daily news stories of Americans assaulting essential workers of all kinds because of their refusal to wear a mask. Understandably, tensions are high with the uncertainty of our economy and our health amidst the pandemic, but why are we not doing more to protect these essential workers—who are quite literally risking their own health and their families’ health to help keep us all safe?
For starters, we need to acknowledge their value and pay them accordingly. In our annual salary survey, nurses reported earning slightly less than last year. This should come to no surprise in the middle of a pandemic where everyone is forced to do more with less, and unfortunately, nurses have been negatively impacted as well. Instead of hiring every qualified nurse in the country to help us fight COVID-19, we’ve seen our fair share of stories of layoffs and furloughs.
There may be a lot of things happening that are out of our control these days, but we can make an effort to restore our humanity. And that begins with a little empathy and simple acts of kindness. The next time you see an essential worker—whether it’s a nurse, grocery clerk, or delivery driver—be sure to thank them. You may be lucky enough to not know anyone personally who has been afflicted with this virus, but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t struggling. We have to let go of this “us” versus “them” mentality. We can—and we must—do better if we ever want a return to normalcy.