Interviews

Published on June 15th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford

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Lorna M. Johnson Determined to Accommodate the Needs of Healthcare Workers During Pandemic

Lorna M. Johnson already has the signatures of Angela Bassett and Anthony Anderson on #ProtectOurHeroes Petition.

Lorna M. Johnson is the founder of the Lorna M. Johnson Global Institute. The Los Angeles based nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner and healthcare executive, is speaking out to the brave citizens protesting for justice, asking them to protect their health as well as the healthcare workers who are protecting them. Johnson understands, you have to be healthy to fight for justice and given the nature of the Corona Virus, she would like to see protesters proceed with their movement using all of the safety cautions that were originally set when the virus first started to spread. “We need their voices, they need our protection,” Johnson explains. The lack of mask, gloves and gowns during these protest leaves, Johnson with a heavy heart as she continues to encourage protesters to not only use their voice for justice, but precaution for this virus as well.

To sign the petition please click here https://www.change.org/p/provide-priority-of-service-protections-for-healthcare-workers?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_22118088_en-US%3Av1&recruiter=301690941&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

You are all for protesting and everything that everyone is out standing for, but given your profession, it has to be a little bit cringe-worthy to see so many people out without masks and standing shoulder to shoulder during the pandemic?

Lorna M. Johnson: Yes! Thank you for having me. I appreciate you helping me share and get my message across. I appreciate the help. Yes, when I look at the young people and many people out there, my heart is really heavy. Just watching these young people risking their lives in many ways for what they believe in peaceful protest. We need their voices. They need our protection. They must wear masks; gowns and they must be tested. Because we know that they are there for a purpose and they need justice and they need our prayers. This Covid-19 is real. It doesn’t respect anyone. It’s going to get you. It’s important that people use what they have at their disposal. And that is to make sure that they are wearing the proper gear and are being tested. They have to make that part of their fight against the pandemic and unequal justice. That’s important as well.

Do you feel like the phases of reopening the country made them comfortable enough to put their guard down or the passion in seeking justice put emotion in front of logic?

Lorna M. Johnson: I think it’s both, but probably a bit more of the passion of the young people. You think of yourself when… I don’t know, you’re probably younger than me. I don’t know, but young people think they are invincible. We don’t think about the consequences when we are doing things and our emotions get going. There are a lot of emotions involved right now and people are not thinking. Hopefully, we as adults, and more experienced and more conscious of these things, keep speaking to them and encouraging them to be the leaders, but at least use some form of protection. At the very least wear a mask. I was on Ryan Seacrest yesterday and he asked about the goggles or the glasses, and I don’t see too many people doing that. People are forgetting about the eyes. You can actually get the virus through the eye. So, it is important that you get some type of sunglasses or form of glasses to protect your eyes because the virus is real, and I think we are going to have a real big resurgence. Are we going to be ready for it? Are the hospital facilities going to be ready for it? Are the nurses going to be ready for it? That’s something that we have to really think about.

When you see all the conspiracy theories surrounding the virus and some even debunking the severity of the virus, how important is it for people to use credible news outlets and do their own research as opposed to listening to someone uninformed?

Lorna M. Johnson: That’s 100% correct. Making sure you are getting your information from the right source, people that you trust. I often say from the news media, it appears that we live in two different worlds. One world say you can’t get it and the other world says, you’re going to die. And so, which one should you believe? Here we are listening to the scientist, but if you read some of the articles, some of the scientist you can’t believe because they have been in bed with pharmaceutical companies for so many years. So, it’s like, who do you want to trust? I would encourage people to side with caution and protect yourself. Because nobody really knows and understands this disease really well. We’re learning new things every day. For me, I lock myself in my house. I don’t even have my nieces and nephews coming over. If they are over, they go to the tennis court or they stay outside and I will wear my mask, glasses and everything on and they will go play. I am using all of the precautions to not get infected. Because we don’t know enough about this. Even if we get it and survive it, we don’t know what it’s doing to our bodies. I’d rather not get it than to believe I have some immunities that can fight it while not knowing what other damages is done to my body.

You always refer to nurses and people who work in the healthcare field, heroes and I wholeheartedly agree with them being deemed as such. Tell us about what you are trying to accomplish right now?

Lorna M. Johnson: I’m initiating a petition for the healthcare workers to get the priority of service designation during a time of crisis. And this petition actually allows the valuable workers or as I call them, the heroes to have special consideration that they have the right healthcare, that they are getting the proper medical care in terms of grief counseling because they are in this room by themselves taking care of patients every day. And these patients are not even able to see their families, so they’re playing dual roles. Sometimes the nurses themselves don’t have proper health insurance; they don’t have the proper protective gear that they need to wear. They could get the virus and take it home to their families. They can get sick and then if they get sick, then what? I’m fighting so that they would have the proper protective equipment that they need to work at all times. They must have access to the Covid-19 testing. They must get hazard pay. They are endangering their lives every day, so they should be compensated for that. And they should get grief counseling and mental health counseling, because that is a very difficult role that they’re playing, and they need to have all of our support during this crisis.

They’re fighting for us, so we must fight for them. We need to talk with our council members, our mayors and governors to make sure that these heroes get the right treatment during this kind of crisis. They may even need childcare in order for them to give the proper service and not have to worry about that in the back of their heads. If they are out there giving 100%, then we need to fight for them to make sure that they are protected. So, that’s basically what the, “Priority of Service, “petition is about. It’s to make sure that we are fighting for the frontline workers. They are out there taking care of us and taking care of our country and taking care of our families. And they are human beings. They are your brothers, they are your sister, they are your daughters and sons. These are real people that need our protection, so we must fight for them because they are there fighting for us every day. They are keeping our communities healthy and keeping our country healthy, so we must fight for them. That’s basically the long and the short of what my petition is about.

You already have the signatures of Angela Bassett and Anthony Anderson to help spearhead this thing which is great. How can people go about signing this petition and getting on board with what you have started?

Lorna M. Johnson: www.change.org and they can put in, Lorna M. Johnson and it should come up. All of the information along with a little bit of my background should be in there. I have been in this field for a while. I was a lecturer at UCLA as well as a clinical professor. If you go to www.lornamjohnson.com, you would also find the petition there. So, we encourage all Americans to sign the petition to make sure that we have enough signatures that can give me the strength because the power is in numbers. As they come out there in numbers, do you see how powerful that is. Looking at them all over the world, that’s how powerful this can be. We can demand what we want and not even worry about who is in office. Thank goodness we have the power of the people in this country. The power behind it is people like you helping me to get the petition out, so that we can have more people signing it. The more people that sign it, the more we will have the power for the change that we need.

In New York, the firemen who were on the frontline after 9/11 sued and won some money. Or they had a petition going and ended up getting a payout. I can’t remember how it all went down, but I remember people speaking on their behalf. Do you feel this can be the same type of scenario for healthcare workers in terms of the duress they are working under and the hazardous conditions as well?

Lorna M. Johnson: Absolutely! And the same thing when soldiers who were at war. They come home and they get special priorities and designations. And we’re asking the same thing for the nurses.

Good luck with this. I think this is very necessary and I couldn’t think of a more qualified person to spearhead this. Is there anything else you want to add?

Lorna M. Johnson: This pandemic is a crisis of epic proportions and it won’t be our last. People are dying. Our healthcare system cannot sustain if the curb continues to go up. Our healthcare workers are on the frontline. They have many hazards that I have listed on my petition and you can go through that. And the challenges is that they don’t have the tools that they need. They don’t have the resources that they need to keep us healthy. So, it is incumbent in us to make sure that we protect them. That’s what this is all about. We have to make sure that we protect them, so that they can protect us. Again, I thank you very much for this opportunity to speak with you and to share and I hope that you will be able to help us and get the word out to get the petition signed, so that we can succeed in this.



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