Op-Ed: Santa Clara County Should Do More to Protect Frontline Healthcare Workers

The Registered Nurses Professional Association (RNPA), and the more than 3,000 Santa Clara County nurses we represent, are calling attention to a disappointing lack of planning and accountability by hospital administrators and the county in response to the surge in Covid-19 patients.

Nurses have been exposed to Covid-19 and some are getting sick within the county’s three hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Instead of the county supporting and taking care of them, nurses are accused of getting Covid in the community. There is also a lack of full transparency from county administration regarding the multiple Covid exposures to nurses.

County administration continually remains evasive about the situation with the latest example being the coronavirus outbreak at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, James Boys Ranch in Morgan Hill and also at Valley Medical Center.

Every day, Santa Clara County nurses work hard and risk their lives to protect and care for our community, and with the global pandemic, nurses today are working even harder. Nurses, who were already understaffed and overworked before the pandemic started, are now at the point of exhaustion as the outbreak crisis continues into its tenth month.

Nurses simply want to feel safe coming to work by having enough staff and personal protective equipment so they can do their jobs, care for their patients and feel supported by the county administration.

RNPA leadership, which has an important role in this crisis providing support for members and advocating for nurses at the county level, is demanding that hospital administration and the county ensure that nurses are adequately protected.

We need safety protocols that are followed and for county administration to be transparent so that nurses and their union can work collaboratively with the county for the good of the community during this health crisis. Specifically, we are calling on the county to inform the union in real-time about Covid outbreaks and related events so that RNPA can act promptly in support of nurses.

RNPA is encouraging local residents to contact their county leaders and urge them to support frontline healthcare workers.

Santa Clara County supervisors can be reached at:

Allan Kamara, a registered nurse, serves as vice president of the RNPA. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

One Comment

  1. I do hope that when folks are reaching out to the county they are also going to include the other employees at the hospital. Radiology, transporters, kitchen staff, and the people who are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the space.
    Nurses are Frontline, but so are many others in the hospital setting.
    Please be inclusive of all hospital staff who have worked as essential workers through this entire pandemic.

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