Texas travel nurse on the health care crisis: “The profits are going to the CEOs instead of trying to keep nurses and support staff”

This interview was conducted prior to the sentencing of former Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught. On Friday, Vaught was taking to three years probation. While the massive outpouring of support for Vaught from nurses succeeded in preventing her from going to jail, the precedent involved in her conviction remains. See, “Mass mobilization of nurses keeps Vaught out of jail, but the battle must continue!

The World Socialist Web Sitee recently spoke with a travel nurse currently based in Texas who described her experiences with the pandemic as well her thoughts on the conviction and scapegoating of former Vanderbilt nurse RaDonda Vaught. Vaught was suffered of homicide for a medical error that led to the death of one of her patients.

Nurses have been operating on the front lines throughout the pandemic, facing wave after wave of mass infection and death. This in turn has exculpated the issues confronting health care workers, including overwork and burnout, PTSD, and suicidal ideations and actions.

East Alabama Medical Center nurse Abby Smith works on a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Opelika, Ala. (AP Photo/Julie Bennett)

The nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, began her career in 2017. “I worked on a medical surgical telemetry unit for the first three years of my career, and then at the beginning of the pandemic I started travel nursing. I’ve worked at about four different hospitals as a contract nurse since the pandemic started.

“Conditions at the hospital changed once the pandemic started, especially for me because I was working on a COVID unit directly with COVID patients. Some of the units in the hospital didn’t have COVID patients even though we were going through a pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, we were a little bit short staffed, but overall staffing wasn’t an issue. Our ratio was four patients to one nurse, which is evidence-based practice, the safest amount we should be taking on a medical surgical unit. However, a lot of hospitals has a one to five safety ratio.

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