An Australian study has found “insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE)” was being made available in primary health care settings, putting nurses at incredible risk through COVID-19.
The study of 637 primary health nurses from across the country indicated a severe shortage of PPE in many primary health workplaces, with only 26% of respondents indicating they had sufficient access to gown and 23% indicating they had access to P2/N95 masks at all time.
Worryingly, less than half (47%) of respondents said that their workplaces had COVID-19-specific PPE guidelines at their facilities.
Survey respondents revealed that they were forced to resort to shockingly inadequate PPE measures, including purchasing stock privately or making gowns out of garbage bags.
“We couldn’t source long sleeved gowns when COVID hit so had some home‐made”, one respondent said.
The lack of PPE was resulting in primary health nurses considering resignation, with 52% of those who were considering leaving the profession blaming “personal safety” as their reason.
The authors noted that “more needs to be done to ensure sufficient stockpiles [of PPE] are maintained”.
“The shortage of PPE during the COVID‐19 pandemic has been extensively reported”, the study stated.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is continuing its advocacy to ensure all nurses and midwives have access to adequate personal protective equipment. Members can report unsafe PPE practices here. If you’re not yet a member, you can join today.