Phoenix, AZ– In honor of National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week starting May 6, the Arizona Nurses Association, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Health System Alliance of Arizona are recognizing Arizona’s healthcare heroes for their continued dedication and service in caring for Arizona patients.
“For the past few years, nurses at the state, national and international levels were battle tested like never before,” said Dawna L. Cato, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Nurses Association. “Facing a situation that many only read about in textbooks, nurses with multiple experiences and educational levels have shown up to work each day to give 100% of themselves, while carrying the emotional, mental, and physical toll of the pandemic. We thank our nurses and healthcare workers for their service and look forward to working with state leaders on programs to help strengthen our healthcare system.”
Arizona currently ranks in the top 5 states experiencing the most severe healthcare staffing shortage, due to a combination of employee burnout, a large number of nurses retiring, and a lack of trained nurses to replace those leaving the workplace. There are numerous proposals at the Arizona Legislature to provide more resources to Arizona healthcare workers.
“Each day, our healthcare employees continue to provide world class care and put the needs of Arizona patients first,” said Brittney Kaufmann, Chief Executive Officer of the Health System Alliance of Arizona. “Our healthcare delivery system is critical infrastructure, and we need a well-trained and robust workforce to meet the growing healthcare demands in our community. As we show our appreciation for healthcare workers this month, let’s remember there is still much we can do to support them.”
Arizona’s dedicated hospital and healthcare workers have witnessed firsthand the impact of COVID-19 in their communities and within the workplace. These important weeks of national designation give us the opportunity to highlight the important work our hospitals, and those working within them, provide to our communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“In a time when we have watched our healthcare workforce be challenged like no other time, our commitment to their safety and resilience remains strong,” said Ann-Marie Alameddin, President and CEO of Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. “The overwhelming workload that was brought on by a global pandemic and a divisive community response has created the need for us to find solutions to build Arizona’s healthcare workforce and protect those who continue to selflessly care for the patients within their communities. We are grateful first and foremost to nurses, and also to our legislators and the Governor for supporting policy to support front line healthcare staff.”
House Bill 2691 sponsored by Representative Joanne Osborne will help address the immediate needs of the industry and establish short-term programs to get more nurses into the workforce, including expanding nurse preceptorships and providing support to nurses who are new to practice.
In addition to the healthcare workforce programs, the Arizona Legislature has taken action on important bills to provide more support and resources for healthcare workers:
- Senate Bill 1311 (healthcare workers; assault; prevention): Directs healthcare employers to develop, implement and maintain a written workplace violence prevention plan.
- House Bill 2434 (surgical smoke evacuation; requirements): Requires outpatient surgical centers or hospitals to adopt and implement policies preventing exposure to surgical smoke by using a smoke evacuation system for each procedure generating surgical smoke.
- House Bill 2429 (health professional wellness programs; confidentiality): Allows statewide associations that represent healthcare professionals to establish a wellness program. Requires records of a person’s participation in the wellness program to be confidential.