Women are being particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic for one important reason — they make up most of the health care workforce. These female professionals are working to fight this virus and keep people safe.
CNBC reports that women hold 76 percent of health care jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. They make up more than 85 percent of nursing jobs. Many nurses have been sharing their stories throughout this crisis.
Women Are On The Front Lines Fighting Coronavirus
Dr. Lauren Powell, executive director of Time’s Up Healthcare, spoke about women’s role in fighting the pandemic in a video from Now This News. “Women, actually, are very much on the front lines right now, working to keep America safe, to keep us healthy, and to keep us from spreading this virus.”
Dr. Powell says it’s important to take this pandemic seriously and do our part to lessen the strain on health care workers. She also recommended that Americans should encourage their legislators to pass “permanent” provisions to help these workers, including providing paid sick leave.
According to CNBC, the fact that women make up so much of the health care workforce suggests that they might be at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus, even if studies have shown that men are more likely to die of it.
Women also make up the majority of primary caretakers for their families, which can put an added strain on female health care workers. They might have children or older relatives to worry about in addition to their work. Because of this, in Washington, superintendents have been asked to provide free childcare for health workers and first responders.
Nurses Tell Their Coronavirus Stories
Videos have recently gone viral of nurses and doctors sharing their honest experiences of the coronavirus pandemic. One nurse, Melissa Scott, made an emotional video quitting her job after being sent to a floor being tested for coronavirus. As she has a history of breast cancer and nowhere to send her kids if she gets sick, Melissa chose to leave her job.
New York emergency room doctor Colleen Smith recently gave people an inside look at everyday life in her hospital during the coronavirus outbreak. She said they were “scrambling” to get more ventilators, and had to get a refrigerated truck to store dead bodies.
“The one good thing is that people who go into health care, whether they’re nurses or physicians, they do it because they want to help people,” Nancy Nielsen, former president of the American Medical Association, told CNBC. “So, while people normally run away from tragedy, these are the folks that run toward it, and we just need to support them and keep them safe.”