November 1, 2021
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In a highly unusual move, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, overruled her own vaccine advisory committee when they became mired in a far-ranging debate about COVID-19 booster shots that led to an end-of-the day vote not to recommend them for healthcare workers.
With federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates looming, burnout at record levels, and many baby boomers nearing retirement age, a national nursing shortage is approaching that could shut down critically needed care. The American Nurses Association recently sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, calling for the Biden administration “to declare a national nurse staffing crisis and take immediate steps to develop and implement both short- and long-term solutions.”
President Biden has dropped the carrot and picked up a stick, ordering healthcare workers — all 17 million — to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or Medicare money may be withheld from their employers.
Two veteran occupational health nurses described their experiences with workplace violence over the years, emphasizing this chronic situation can be stopped if individual hospital leaders set a tone that enough is enough.