Skip to main content

Nurses Commend Biden Administration's Strategy for COVID-19

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   January 25, 2021

'We're ready to get to work to make this COVID-19 response plan a reality,' says nurses' union head.

National Nurses United (NNU) joined other healthcare providers in applauding President Joseph R. Biden’s new COVID-19 strategy—particularly his orders to protect worker health and safety, said Bonnie Castillo, RN, executive director of NNU.

Biden has released his 200-page National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, along with executive orders and actions related to COVID-19.

"In his first days in office, President Biden has shown us that he is listening to the concerns and the expertise of nurses by taking immediate action on the worker health and safety protections and broader public health protections that we have been demanding," Castillo said.

"We are particularly pleased that the president signed strong executive orders to protect worker health and safety and to improve the medical supply chain," she said.

Biden has promised to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up personal protective equipment supplies and restore national stockpiles, along with doubling the number of drive-through testing sites, creating a national pandemic testing board, and investing $25 billion in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

In addition to the executive orders on worker health and safety and the medical supply chain, NNU pointed to critical and necessary measures in additional executive orders and actions signed by the president in his first weeks in office. These include commitments to:

  • Provide paid sick and family leave and extend this leave to more workers, including the removal of the healthcare worker exemption. Nurses and other healthcare workers have not been eligible for the paid sick and family leave that Congress passed last spring.
  • Increase federal support to increase healthcare capacity and respond to surge situations.

"Nurses have been on the front lines of this pandemic since it began," Castillo said. "For nearly a year, we have been exhausted both physically and emotionally, and consistently and unnecessarily put at risk at work. Hundreds of nurses have died due to lack of protections at work. The actions that President Biden has taken … have given us relief and hope after a traumatic year. We're ready to get to work to make this COVID-19 response plan a reality."

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The president signed strong executive orders to protect healthcare worker health and safety.

President Biden has promised to ramp up personal protective equipment supplies and restore national stockpiles.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.