Nurse association calls on Congress to help health care workers

Dr. Ernest Grant, president of the American Nurses Association, discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nurses.
4:43 | 05/06/21

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Transcript for Nurse association calls on Congress to help health care workers
But there is the emotional physical impact of the pandemic as well, it's evident, a new poll shows healthcare workers are so burnt out, 30% of them have considered leaving the profession. We want to bring in the president of the American nurses association, Dr. Ernest grant. Dr. Grant, thank you for being with us once again actually. We have this six in ten healthcare worker says stress from the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. What do we do about that? I think there's a lot of things we can do, first of all, - make certain that nurses get the mental health care that they obviously, they need to take care of themselves, before they can provide the care that their patients need. We know that when you go to work, and you have other things on your mind, you have stressors and things like that, there's always the increased chance of mistakes and things of that sort. So you know, there's a lot of things such as, you know, having a full day off, instead of, you know, having to split your shift, perhaps in coming to work, because of a shortage of staffing, or, you know, being able to have access to community health resources to where you can get the, you know, the mental health care that you need. Dr. Grant, you are actually calling on congress to step in, and help with this. From a legislative perspective, what needs to be done to take care of these ever-important healthcare workers? There's a shortage of health care, mental health professionals, to provide the much-needed counseling that is needed. So we're calling on congress to appropriate funds that will allow for increased individuals to enter or become mental health counselors, to assist with that, and also to set up then the mental health counseling centers around theountry that members of the health care team can take Dr. Grant, we cited that number, 30% of folks in the profession have considered leaving the profession. But we also saw at some point during the pandemic more people are actually starting to try to apply to medical school, there's more interest in getting into the medical profession. Are you seeing, just as some people may be trying to step away because of what they just went through in the pandemic is, there increased interest? Is there any way to measure if you have more people interested in the profession of nursing? Yes, thank you for that question. There is a tremendous increase. When I have spoken with deans and directors of nursing programs, across the country, they are reporting that there is a waiting list actually to actually get into their programs. The problem, however, is that there's not enough nursing faculty, there's not enough, you know, you have to, not enough clinical spaces for students to be able to go out and, you know, and practice, so that they can become proficient, once they do graduate, so, and of course, a lot of the nursing faculty, themselves, as I stated, there's not enough of them, so you know, sort of a domino effect, but we're very happy that people are answering the call, to want to join the nursing profession, which I think is the greatest profession known to man. I think a lot of people have recognized that over this past year, Dr. Grant, and sure, we have rung bells, we have applauded our healthcare workers, our nurses specifically, for all that they've done, but I would love for to you share with us how we can collectively and perhaps even individually personally show that support to nurses on this national nurses day. Well, thank you very much. What I would like to do is, myself, personally, wish every nurse out there happy nurses day. I think for the general public, there's a couple of things you can do. One, if you know a nurse personally, you know, just say hello, say thank you, maybe you know, cook them a special meal or something, or some flowers. I think the best thing that the whole country can do is to make sure that everyone gets vaccinated, you know, the sooner we get enough people vaccinated, the sooner we can return to normal, whatever that's going to look like post-covid, but I think that's the greatest gift that people could give nurses on national nurses day, is to make the commitment to go out and get vaccinated, and if they are vaccinated, then get others in the community vaccinated as well. That is actually so beautiful. Hadn't thought of that. But wow, that makes so much sense, because we said this, when you get vaccinated, it's not just about you, it's about helping others and to help those healthcare workers who have put their lives on the line. Thank you for putting that so eloquently. American nurses association president Dr. Ernest grant, thank you again for being on the show. We know you've been here before, we hope you come back. Thank you. Up next, right here on

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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