Nurses helping nurses: Hundreds of N95 masks handed out at St. Luke’s Hospital

Coronavirus

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — In a time when medical supplies are getting harder to come by, nurses are leaning on each other for help.

On Wednesday, several nurses lined up outside of St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and handed out roughly 600 N95 masks, courtesy of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA).

The MNA, along with donors, contractors and outside organizations, has collected and is now distributing a significant amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies statewide.

The group has secured 20,000 masks and has another 40,000 on the way.

“These medical-grade masks are essential to the safety and well-being of our nurses and health care professionals. Without this PPE, our front-line caregivers are just as susceptible to COVID-19 as every visitor and patient they interact with and care for,” MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams said. “If most of our front-line caregivers were to become sick, the entire health care system would be compromised. But thanks to this donation, our members can care for patients during this pandemic safely and without fear.”

Kim Beaulieu, a Southcoast Health nurse, was one of the nurses handing out the masks on her day off. She said her colleagues are staying strong and bracing for the potential surge in cases.

“This is new for everybody. We are kind of figuring it out as we go,” Beaulieu said. “I think the only way to do that is to all support each other, you know, not just nursing but everybody who works in the hospital because we are all on the front lines: the CNAs, the housekeepers, the lab techs, everybody who is on the floors, it is important for everybody to be safe because if we are not safe, who is going to take care of the patients?”

Beaulieu also begged people to stay inside. She said she would love to see everyone wear a mask when they are outside, adding that every little bit helps in trying to stop the spread.

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