By now you’ve heard the headlines about the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, but here’s a closer look at the problem that’s brewing across the globe.
Nursing homes, in particular, are at the epicenter of the epidemic.
Nursing facilities have been under intense scrutiny for months as the US government has been attempting to manage the pandemic, and there’s no denying that their care has been fraught with stress.
As the New York Times’ Andrew Solomon points out, the nurses who’ve been at the forefront of the response to the pandemics outbreaks have been the ones who’ve had the hardest time coping.
A study published in February in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that, of the 4,871 nurses who worked in US hospitals as of the end of March, only 13% had been diagnosed with a COVID-19-related illness.
That number was even lower among those who were discharged from hospitals, with just 9% of those who had been discharged having had a COVI-19 diagnosis.
In the same study, the National Institutes of Health estimated that only 4% of US hospitals would have been fully staffed for COVID and related infections by the end to March if it weren’t for the nurses, who have been among the most vocal critics of the pandems efforts.
The nurse’s mates are critical to managing the disease as they help to provide care to the most vulnerable patients and their families, and as Solomon explains, they also contribute to a sense of solidarity that nurses feel when they come in to care for patients.
But while they may be vital to keeping patients healthy, it’s important to remember that nurses don’t just care for their patients, they care for themselves too.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates that nursing homes have a higher rate of respiratory infections, as well as respiratory illness, than any other hospital, with a mortality rate of 2.8%.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in the same period that nursing home patients die more often, the number of hospital-acquired infections quadrupled in the US.
Nursing home care is the only care system where the majority of healthcare workers are non-unionized.
While it’s understandable that nurses want to provide the best care possible, it also seems to be a conflict of interest for them to be the only ones who get paid to do it.
They also have the luxury of being the only workers allowed to work there.
In many nursing homes, the wages for nurses are capped, so they have to work full-time at their job to pay their bills.
As Solomon notes, this isn’t a sustainable system for everyone, particularly those who are already working long hours to make ends meet.
In an effort to address this problem, a bill introduced by Representative Mark Takano, a Democrat from New York, would require a three-month minimum wage for all nurses who work in nursing homes.
It would also make it easier for nursing home staff to unionize.
According to Takano’s proposal, the government would guarantee that the minimum wage of $10.40 an hour for the first year of a nurse’s contract would rise to $11.10 in 2019, with an additional increase to $13.50 by 2021.
These are relatively small changes to ensure that nurses are able to make a living, but they would go a long way to making a dent in the pay disparity between nurses and the rest of the workforce.
The legislation is still in its early stages, and has not yet been introduced in the New Jersey Legislature.
However, Takano has been lobbying to introduce a similar bill in the state legislature, and is optimistic that he’ll be able to garner support for his legislation.
The bill, called the Nursing Care for All Act, would allow nurses to receive a two-year pay raise for working more than 40 hours per week and to also make the unionization process easier for them.
According the Huffington Post, Takano has also proposed legislation that would also allow nurses who are currently working part-time to get the pay increase, if they complete an additional year of training.
It is important to note that while Takano is calling for a two year raise, it would only be for those nurses who complete a three year training course.
In a statement, Takanos spokesperson said, “The proposal would be an important step in addressing the rising healthcare costs in New Jersey, and would help provide nursing homes with an incentive to hire new workers to address their workforce needs.
We look forward to working with the New Congress to help ensure the best way to help New Jersey families is to create a more stable workforce.”
However, this would only apply to nurses who currently work full time, and not those who work part time as well.
According a 2016 report by the Commonwealth Fund, the average full- time hourly wage for nurses is just $11,711, and