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'Nurses are at a breaking point': Union sounds plea as healthcare workers face continuing COVID-19 surge

Minnesota recently reached the grim milestone of 10,000 COVID-19-related deaths. Now, nurses fear this trend will continue - long after the holidays.

MINNEAPOLIS — In a heartfelt plea for more resources and action from state leaders, frontline nurses are now sharing stories of the current crisis seen inside Minnesota hospitals.

“I know we were in the same room a year and a half ago and I likened what we have been going through as a war, soldiers going to battle, and I'm telling you we are losing the war, losing the war,” said Mary Turner, the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “This weekend my ICU is full and most of them won't make it."

Several hospitals across the state are calling the situation "overwhelming" as hospitals beds become scarce.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is worse than ever, the ICU beds are full and patients are back in the hospitals, hallways and waiting rooms,” Turner said.

Nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association say as staff shortages persist, there's a need for more resources and action from state legislators, hospital executives and the general public.

“We have a decrease in our workforce, just like all the other workforces, and we don’t have enough members to do the work, so there's a constant strain,” said Lynetta Muehlhauser, a registered nurse at Abott Northwestern. 

“Our nurses have been holding together the broken pieces of our staffing plan,” said Wendy Wahl, a registered nurse at Sanford Thief River Falls.

While Minnesota recently reached the grim milestone of more than 10,000 COVID-19 related deaths, nurses fear this trend will continue - even long after the holiday season.

“Nurses need more than words, we need action to address the crisis of staffing and retention to Minnesota hospitals,” Turner added. “We cannot go on like this."

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