Nurses are Caught Between Parents and Politics

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In the NPR News, reporter Ari Shapiro writes that school nurses around the country are tasked with caring for the health and safety of children at schools, and managing a third school year in a pandemic has put even more strain on those in a profession already facing staffing shortages.

Shapiro recently talked with a Denver Public Schools nurse Rebecca Sposato, who told him in his All Things Considered show “I honestly thought we were trending down in our COVID numbers, trending up in our vaccine numbers. And I thought the worst was over.”

Another school nurse from Tampa (Florida) Katherine Burdge is reportedly struggling between school districts and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who threatened to cut state funding for public schools that required students and staff to wear masks, writes Shapiro.

We’re dealing with COVID on the front lines every day. It’s a serious manifestation that is just overwhelming the district, the state, everybody.

Katherine Burdge, a School nurse from Florida (source: NPR News)

Eileen Gavin, a school nurse in Monmouth County (N.J.), told NPR News “It’s kind of like Groundhog Day: another year of contact tracing and vaccinating and kind of leading the kids back to school safely. So, I do think we are traumatized”.

Nurses are caught in the crossfire between parents and public officials.

From: NPR News

Nurse Gavin told “It really is a lot to bear. We are the only healthcare professional in the schools and we have input and weigh in on so many things. … We assist in giving them the information so they can make an informed decision to keep their child healthy and safe.”

We don’t want to have those nasty words or fights or debates or anything along those lines with them. We are a resource for them, and open communication, I think, is key at this point.

Burdge, President-elect of Florida’s School Nurses Association (source: NPR News)

Gavin told NPR News “Our school nurses are exhausted. I think last year I had said school nurses felt like the weight of the pandemic was on their shoulders. We’re on our knees now, with the weight of the pandemic on our shoulders.”

In Minnesota, many doctors, nurses are battling ‘compassion fatigue‘ with COVID-19 surge, who are wondering whether they can continue managing burnout while responding to the call of duty, writes Christopher Snowbeck in Star Tribune.

By and large our patients are unvaccinated, and so much of the suffering … feels preventable. That’s where the heartbreak comes from … This didn’t have to happen. It doesn’t have to keep happening. And it looks like it will get worse.

Dr. Jacob Lyons, a critical care specialist at CentraCare in St. Cloud (source: Star Tribune)

Jessica White, an ICU nurse, who worked in the first three COVID waves in Minnesota, told “I just decided I did not want to go through another wave of COVID, dealing with all that loss and sickness. I’m not a crier, but I would cry all the time”.

It’s not personal when they come in — it’s just frustrating, in general. And it’s a real blow to our compassion, as it were. It’s hard to keep going.

Dr. Williams, the chief well-being officer at M Health Fairview (source: Star Tribune)

The Wall Street Journal writes that in a town in Arkansas with many still deeply skeptical of the vaccines, its community leaders are reportedly trying everything to persuade a reluctant populace to take Covid-19 vaccines.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of September 4, 9 a.m.) 450,175,825 doses have been distributed and 374,488,924 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of September 1) a total of 6,216,804 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of September 3) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 655,418 (out of 11,561,040 tested) with 7,844 deaths.