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Massachusetts Nurses Union Wants Baker's Help To Address 'Overwhelmed And Burned Out' Workers

BOSTON (CBS) – Union nurses want Governor Charlie Baker to address employee burnout nearly two years into the pandemic.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says the health care system is buckling under the pressure of both COVID patients and those who delayed care during the pandemic.

"We are now at a place we all feared. Healthcare workers are overwhelmed and burned out," they wrote in a letter to Baker. "The Recent regulatory changes have made it easier for nurses to resign their positions and become travel nurses within the state at significant rate increases - further destabilizing the nursing workforce and increasing the cost of care."

The union is calling for a series of actions to help health care workers, including:

  • Repeal regulations regarding travel nurses
  • Quicker licensing for out-of-state nurses to help with the staffing crisis
  • Stricter visitor policies at hospitals
  • Onsite testing and booster shots for health care staff
  • All staff interacting with patients be provided with new, single-use N95 masks

"We've asked the governor to declare a state of emergency so that we can try to get in front of this on the two-year anniversary," MNA president Katie Murphy told WBZ-TV.

"We are absolutely exhausted. The emergency rooms are bursting at the seams. There just aren't enough beds," said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia of the MNA. "In order to tamp this down and get ahead for a change, we need to practice safety measures."

The Nurses Association said the recent activation of the Massachusetts National Guard members to hospitals has been helpful so far and they're asking for more assistance.

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