Some local nurses joined in on marches in Washington D.C. and Tallahassee on Thursday, asking for safer working environments and better treatment.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Nurses all over the country are making their voices heard and demanding change.

Some local nurses joined in on marches in Washington D.C. and Tallahassee on Thursday, asking for safer working environments and better treatment.

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“We’re seeing the fallout of nurses retiring in their thirties, in their forties, changing careers, being so burnt out,” said Sarasota County nurse, Kellie Roeser.

Nurses all over the country celebrated National Nursing Week, but also used it as a way to bring serious issues to light.

“The people who will suffer the most are the patients and that’s heartbreaking,” said Roeser.

On thursday, nurses gathered in Washington D.C. and in Tallahassee to demand change in the nursing industry.

“For me it was probably one of the most empowering days of my life,” said Roeser.

Nurses, Terri Campbell and Kellie Roeser, from Sarasota County Florida, made the trip to Washington D.C. To have their voices heard about topics like violence in medical facilities.

“I have been the victim of abuse from patients, patients families, verbal, mental, physical abuse,” said Roeser.

And issues related to staffing shortages and nurses being spread too thin.

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“The math isn’t hard, and we will have, and I don’t mean us specifically, but we know of individuals who work in facilities with two CNA’s with up to 30 patients,” said Campbell.

Both Campbell and Roeser say nurses are working up to 60 hours a week.

“We simply don’t have the time to give the level of care we want to give,” said Campbell.

Pay is also an issue.

“From a fair market perspective, we are not making what our skills require,” said Campbell.

University of South Florida nursing professor, Dr. Rayna Letourneau, says COVID-19 made the staffing and pay issues worse.

“If we think of the pandemic’s silver lining, it’s really given us the opportunity to have these conversations, for people to acknowledge that we can’t continue the way we have for the last couple of decades,” said Dr. Letourneau.

So with their signs and fellow nurses, both Campbell and Roeser say change needs to happen soon…or everyone will see the impact.

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“You’re going to see way more shortage. Nurses are walking away every day.”