October 2, 2020
Newswise — The letter, drafted and signed by a self-described group of bipartisan nurse leaders, states, "We believe we have a moral obligation to speak out about the Trump administration's actions that are undermining the health of individuals, families, communities, the nation, and our planet."
The letter goes on to pledge that they will be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November. Although the nurses do not represent a singular association or foundation, they are all willing to call out the Trump Administration's negligence and list the specific actions they feel are antithetical to the nursing values and code of ethics.
The letter asserts the opposite regarding candidate Joe Biden. The letter urges, "Joe Biden has demonstrated that he embraces evidence-informed policy, access to health care, safeguarding human rights, and other positions that align with nursing's values."
The endorsement concludes with, "We believe that he will restore a sense of humanity in our nation, strive to promote the health and well-being of all people and our planet using the best of science."
We Are Nurses, America's Most Trusted Profession. And We Support Biden-Harris
The Trump administration’s actions and policies are antithetical to a healthy society—and our code of ethics.
For almost 20 years, the public has rated nurses as the most trusted profession in the nation. We are a diverse, bipartisan group of clinical, academic, research, policy and organizational nurse leaders who take that trust seriously. We have a moral obligation to speak out about the Trump administration’s actions that are undermining the health of individuals, families, communities, the nation and our planet. We urge the American people to carefully consider our concerns as they decide for whom to vote in the November elections. We will be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but we are writing this as individuals, not on behalf of a campaign.
Here are a few examples of the Trump administration’s actions and policies that are antithetical to a healthy society and to nursing’s values and code of ethics:
- President Donald Trump has grossly mismanaged the nation’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. That more than 200,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 in just seven months, with many more suffering its long-term effects, is stunning and unacceptable. This includes our nursing and health care colleagues who became infected because of a persistent lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) that could have been ameliorated by an early federal role in stimulating the production and distribution of PPE.
- The president lied and continues to lie about the seriousness of the pandemic, saying “it will disappear,” even though he told journalist Bob Woodward that he knew otherwise. He has repeatedly ignored—and sometimes ridiculed— science-informed recommendations from public health officials. His statements about hydroxycholoroquine and ingesting antiseptics have had serious, adverse health consequences. He continues to flout the mask and social-distancing guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when he should be modeling the precautions designed to protect us all. Without a vaccine, his claims of allowing people to get infected to build “herd immunity” will result in millions more dying.
- The president has politicized the premier federal agencies upon which we rely for science-based information. This includes the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Ongoing reports of officials within the Department of Health and Human Services pressuring the CDC to change its science-based guidance and information in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that scientists and health professionals rely upon for accurate, fact-based information has undermined our confidence in the CDC leadership.
- The president terminated the U.S. contribution to the World Health Organization during a global pandemic, crippling the one international organization that the world has to monitor and respond to the pandemic and future emerging infections and disasters.
- Trump has worked to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), knowing that it will make health care inaccessible to millions, worsening their health and leading to premature deaths.
- Racism is a public health issue. Trump’s continued sanctioning of racist and white supremacist groups have led to an escalation of race-based violence and deaths. Many health professionals of color have experienced trauma from the sanctioning of racism and bigotry by this administration.
- The Trump administration’s forced separation of immigrant children from their parents will have life-long physical and mental health effects. Since 2017, over 5,000 migrant children have been separated. Trump also implemented a “public health emergency” that allows the rapid expulsion of immigrants and asylum seekers from the U.S. Of the 100,000 expulsions, 2,000 have been unaccompanied children.
- Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, including his efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, affect an estimated 14,000 Dreamers who work in health care positions. We need more, not fewer, bilingual and culturally diverse nurses who can advance health equity.
- Trump’s persistence in ignoring science extends to his recent comments about the wildfires on the West Coast that are devastating whole communities, claiming “It’ll start getting cooler.” Climate change has already led to premature deaths and exacerbated illness from excessive heat, air pollution, flooding and other climate disasters.
- Forcing the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court during an election, the politicization of the Department of Justice, the shunning of longstanding norms in presidential behavior and practices, and the undermining of efforts to encourage and enable all Americans to vote are examples of how Trump is a threat to the foundations of our democracy. We fear for our rights as nurses and as Americans.
These are but a few of our concerns about the Trump presidency.
Joe Biden has demonstrated that he embraces evidence-informed policy, access to health care, safeguarding human rights and other positions that align with nursing’s values. While we may not all agree with his positions on all issues, we believe that he will restore a sense of humanity in our nation, strive to promote the health and well-being of all people and our planet using the best of science, and do so while once again rebuilding the nation’s economic viability, as he did with President Barack Obama after the 2008 recession.
We urge Americans to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The health and well-being of our nation is at stake.
On behalf of over 700 registered nurses from 49 states and the District of Columbia:
Jane Barnsteiner, Ph.D., R.N. FAAN, is a registered nurse living in Miramar Beach, Florida.
Joanne Disch, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, is a registered nurse living in Miramar Beach, Florida.
Barbara Glickstein, MPH, M.S., R.N., is a public health nurse in New York City.
David Keepnews, Ph.D., J.D., R.N. FAAN, is a registered nurse, attorney and nursing professor in Washington, D.C.
Katheren Koehn, M.A., R.N., FAAN, is the executive director of the Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses, and lives in St Paul, Minnesota.
Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, is a professor in Minneapolis.
Diana J. Mason, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, is a public health nurse, educator and consultant in Denver, New York.
Adriana Perez, Ph.D., ANP-BC, FAAN, is an educator and adult nurse practitioner in Philadelphia.
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