Protecting and Investing in Healthcare Workers
Our Vermont nurses and healthcare workers have spent the last two years on the frontlines of the COVID crisis. We have cheered for them, we celebrated them, and we held them up as the most essential of essential workers. But it is clear that after these years of heroic service, we did not reward them. Now, Vermont hospitals are experiencing some of the most acute staffing shortages in the nation. This is a crisis that took root long before the pandemic.
Together, we can build systems to protect and support our frontline healthcare workers, for this pandemic and beyond. It is well past time to create permanent and strong standards that ensure higher wages, consistent benefits including earned time off, and investments in our healthcare education systems to reduce the overwhelming debt.
Additionally, we must create work environments that protect workers and patients. That means establishing minimum nurse-to-patient ratios to reduce the burden on nurses and provide better patient outcomes. This also means that we create holistic support systems for nurses on the frontlines, from mental healthcare resources to safe housing. They are serving daily on the frontlines for us; we should do everything we can to have their back.