"The staff in our building is scared. We're terrified for our patients, ourselves, our co-workers, our family and our community."
Sobering words from a nurse of 33 years, but Donna Stinson of Allentown says the situation right now inside area nursing homes is grim, and it's not getting better.
"The staff is emotionally and physically exhausted," Donna said.
Donna spoke out at a virtual rally held by the group "Nurses of Pa."
Along with hundreds of other nurses, Donna and organizers marked this National Nurses Day by letting lawmakers know what they're up against and why their voices need to be heard when it comes to the plan to re-open Pennsylvania.
The nurses want lawmakers to implement their "nurse's plan for recovery," which calls for things like widespread rapid coronavirus testing, paid sick time for essential workers, and adequate PPE.
Something Donna says is missing at her nursing home.
"I don't know where the PPE is. I'm given one N-95 mask and one surgical mask I'm to wear for the week," Donna said.
She said nursing homes like hers have simply been forgotten.
"I can't get a replacement mask even though it's visibly soiled," Donna said.
She explained that nurse's aides are given just one gown to use when helping COVID and non-COVID patients, causing cross contamination, and no shields or goggles are provided.
She also spoke of a night last week when nurses became overwhelmed with several patients going into respiratory distress all at once. Two of them eventually died at the hospital.
"That day changed me. It has changed me as a person and as a nurse. I no longer am able to trust those whose job it is to support us and I don't know if I ever will," Donna said.
Still, she and the other nurses in the rally say they will continue to fight for their patients, for their profession, and for their voices to be heard at a time when they say they're needed more than ever.