Local nurses to protest for more protection as part of national movement


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Today, thousands of nurses are protesting across the country including Augusta.

Registered Nurses from the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center will be a part of the movement.

It starts at noon at the corner of 15th St. and Harper St. and is hosted by the National Nurses United.

NewsChannel 6 spoke to a RN from the Medical Center and chair for the National Nurses United, Irma Westmoreland. She says they saw some changes but it just was not enough.

Westmoreland says they got a shipment for more PPE, but they’ve still been only using one mask per day.

They are also advocating for immediate testing in their own facility if exposed to the virus.

Medical professionals want more communication with management and appropriate staffing.

“We are opening a new unit at Charlie Norwood VA. A small unit. It’s got a max of ten beds. Right now, it’s capped at just 5, but we’re going to open a med search unit to take an overflow of patients but we’ve been planning this for months and months and still did not hire staff for that,” says Westmoreland.

NewsChannel 6 received a statement from the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in response to the protests.

They say they’re adhering to CDC guidelines. According to the statement, they’ve kept their employee infection rates under 2% because of their current PPE plans. They say they monitor the number of PPE’s every day and if they were to fall below stock levels, another VA facility would help them.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center response to protests

“If you ask the VA, they will tell you over and over again, the director just put a blog out last week that we have plenty of PPE. If you have plenty of PPE, why are we still reusing masks?” Says Westmoreland.

RN’s are expected to share their stories at the protests. Irma Westmoreland expects a larger outcome than last time.

On a National level they’re pushing for more economic funding that stopped in July and hoping Senate passes the HEROES Act.

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