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Survey: Nurses Fear Going to Work Due to Lack of Protection from Virus More than 32k Nurses Share Experience from the Front Lines


Shannon McClendon



Keziah Proctor



SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the American Nurses Association (ANA) released new findings from a survey of more than 32,000 nurses nationwide on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While the data are still being analyzed, the results echo concerns about the egregious shortage of protective equipment for nurses, staffing concerns, and access to training.  

Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a top concern with nearly 9-out-of-10 nurses saying they fear going to work for lack of protection. More than a quarter of those surveyed shared they have been “forced to create” their own surgical masks. Only half of nurses surveyed have had adequate training to conduct COVID-19 testing and 68% say they are working without the necessary nurse staffing.  

“It is distressing to witness our nation’s health care system being under siege by COVID-19,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “While there have been strides to deploy PPE and other critical aid to the frontlines, we are still hearing reports from nurses that they continue to lack basic PPE. And as a result, nurses don’t feel safe and are concerned about spreading the disease to their patients and family members and becoming infected themselves.  This is leading to extraordinary stress and exhaustion among nurses and other health care professionals.”   

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 9,000 health care workers in the United States had tested positive for COVID-19.  Additionally, it is estimated that 54 nurses have died from the disease. Since the early stages of this crisis and now pandemic, ANA’s plea to support nurses has been consistent and urgent. We are encouraged by the administration’s efforts to procure and deliver PPE along with endeavors to support state-level public health efforts regarding contact tracing and testing. ANA will continue to advocate for ongoing support to prevent COVID-19, so our communities and health care systems can be restored. 

“It is our hope that the survey findings serve as both a wake-up call and an opportunity to make swift change for the future now, as we plan for a second surge and ongoing challenges in the years ahead,” said Grant. “Our courageous nurses are working around the clock during these extraordinary times in dangerous, distressing circumstances. In return, we must view the protection of nurses as a moral and strategic imperative because it is directly related to safeguarding the public and stemming the spread of COVID-19.” 

*Data was collected through a survey administered by the American Nurses Association to identify needs and observations from nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March 20 - April 10, 2020, 32,174 nurses responded*

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit

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