Throughout the COVID-19 crises, we’ve seen disparities in readiness and responses among states and hospitals.

Some hospitals geared up to only get a trickle of COVID-19 cases. Others were woefully unprepared for a flood of infected patients.

Some have adequate supplies of PPE (personal protection equipment) and staffing; others are reusing or “reprocessing” PPE and asking nurses to take on more responsibilities and longer shifts while they call for hundreds of emergency nurses.

This has put a great strain on  the nation’s nurses who continue to stand bravely on the frontlines of this crisis.

Many nurses are asking, “Is my hospital doing everything it can to protect me?” or “How well prepared is my hospital?”

If you’re a nurse on the front line, you already know what you’re dealing with. But if you’re a student nurse about to graduate or a travel nurse considering your next assignment, how can you decide if a hospital you’re considering is prepared to treat patients while providing adequate protection for its nurses?

You can look at the numbers.

We’ve found some great resources that include:

  • A national COVID-19 survey of nurses
  • State and county COVID-19 preparedness data
  • A List of top-ranked hospitals
  • PPE resources

So let’s get into the data by starting with a survey of frontline nurses.


A Survey Of Frontline Nurses

National Nurses United is the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses with more than 150,000 members.

They conducted a survey asking more than 21,000 nurses from 50 states, Washington D.C. and three territories about how their healthcare organization’s preparedness (or lack of) has affected them. Here’s what they found:

  • Only 24% of nurses think their employer is providing a safe workplace.
  • 87% of nurses who work at hospitals reported reusing at least one piece of single-use PPE.
  • 54% of nurses who work at hospitals say their employer has implemented a decontamination program to “clean” single-use PPE, such as N95 respirators, between uses.
  • 23% of nurses reported they have been tested for COVID-19.
  • 36% of nurses who work at hospitals reported that they are afraid of catching COVID-19 and 43% are afraid of infecting a family member.
  • 27%of nurses providing care to confirmed COVID-19 patients reported having been exposed without the appropriate PPE and having worked within 14 days of exposure.
  • 33% of nurses reported that their employer requires them to use their own sick leave, vacation, or paid time off if a nurse gets COVID-19 or is exposed to COVID-19 and needs to self-quarantine.

The numbers speak for themselves that more needs to be done to provide adequate protection for our nurses so they can provide proper care in a safe working environment.


COVID-19 Preparedness By State & County

COVID-19 preparedness and response has varied greatly from state to state, by county and individual hospitals. Here are two resources that rank preparedness by state and county.

A survey studied three factors including, number of hospital beds per 1,000 residents, number of physicians per 100,000 residents and percent of uninsured residents to rank which states are best and least prepared to deal with a COVID-19 surge.

Here are the rankings:

Best prepared states

  1. MA
  2. NY
  3. PA
  4. MN
  5. RI
  6. MI
  7. VT
  8. WV
  9. OH
  10. CT

Least prepared states

  1. ID
  2. NV
  3. TX
  4. UT
  5. AZ
  6. OK
  7. NM
  8. GA
  9. SC
  10. NC

Recent infection trends have shown that rural and smaller communities are also experiencing more COVID-19 cases. See how prepared the county your hospital is located in by using this search tool.


100+ Top-Ranked U.S. Hospitals

These hospitals are the best of the best because of survival rates, patient experience, specialized staff and advanced technologies. And because they’re the top-ranked hospitals, their response to COVID-19 has also been ahead of the curve.

U.S. New & World Report 2020–2021 Best Hospitals Honor Roll

  1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  2. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
  3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
  4. (tie) NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital–Columbia and Cornell, New York City
  5. (tie) UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
  6. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  7. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, San Francisco
  8. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
  9. NYU Langone Hospitals, New York, New York City
  10. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  11. University of Michigan Hospitals–Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
  12. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
  13. Stanford Health Care–Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto, California
  14. Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City
  15. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania–Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia
  16. Mayo Clinic–Phoenix
  17. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
  18. (tie) Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis
  19. (tie) Keck Hospital of USC, Los Angeles
  20. Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas

If you want a more in-depth look, you can check out America’s 100 best hospitals ranked by IBM Watson Health and Fortune Magazine. Included are hospitals broken down by large, medium and small communities.

You can also view the Washington Monthly Honor Roll for 20 more highly-ranked hospitals around the country.


PPE Resources

Doctors and nurses are both sounding the alarm of more PPE shortages as the current COVID-19 surge continues.

Providing adequate PPE for nurses continues to be a problem for many hospitals. Some hospitals are resorting to reusing PPE or only providing N95 masks for nurses working directly with COVID-19 patients.

An ANA (American Nurses Association) survey of 14,000 nurses found that access to PPE is a primary concern of nurses across the country.

It’s not an ideal situation – risking both the health of nurses and the patients they treat. Some hospitals allow their nurses to bring their own PPE; some don’t. It’s still a free-for-all out there trying to get PPE.

Here are a couple of resources that are helping healthcare organizations and providers secure much needed PPE supplies:


Until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, this health emergency isn’t going anywhere. There will continue to be surges and spikes.

We still have a ways to go making sure that those on the frontlines have the PPE equipment and staffing requirements they need to provide the best possible care.

Meanwhile, nurses are going to do what they’re best at – providing the best care for their patients and making sure that we make it through this health crisis.



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