Pa. Nurse staffing crisis: Local nurses demand action for better funding, government support

Pennsylvania

Nurses who work at state facilities say they’ve seen budget cuts affect their work for years. But now, the pandemic is making it worse and they’re demanding action.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, nurses–in Pa. and throughout the nation–are getting sick, burning out, and in some cases, dying.

On Thursday, those nurses demanded action, by urging state lawmakers to increase health funding. Members from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents 45,000 nurses, told abc27 News that Pennsylvania ranks “embarrassingly” 45th in the country per capita for health spending.

The SEUI nurses told abc27 News that since 2010, $49 million of cuts have been made to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s budget, leaving fewer people to do more work.

“We’re gonna keep losing nurses, and our patients are going to be at a higher and higher risk, and we don’t need to see any more deaths due to this when it’s easily fixed with staff,” said John Berezansky, a community health nurse for the Pa. Department of Health.

When asked if Governor Tom Wolf or Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine could help the nursing community get more funding, the nurses said this needs to come in the form of the state and federal budget.

As for what the public can do, the frontline workers say keep up those mitigation efforts as the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout the Commonwealth.

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