FRANKFORT, Ky. — Nurses across the nation want their voices to be heard. Many of them took those concerns to Washington D.C. for the National Nurses March.

In Kentucky, nurses had a march of their own in Frankfort.

What You Need To Know

  • National Nurses Week is observed May 6-12

  • The National Nurses March was hosted in Washington D.C. on May 12

  • Nurses who couldn’t make the national march hosted marches at their state capitols, calling for change 

  • Labriska Humphrey hosted the Kentucky march 

The National Nurses March was held on May 12th in Washington D.C. The march invited nurses across the nation to rally for several demands, according to the National Nurses March website, including:

  • Fair, uncapped wages
  • Equal Opportunity Employment
  • Safe staffing patient ratios & standard of care
  • Elimination of nursing profession cultural biases & discriminations

Nurses that couldn’t make it to the nation’s capitol rallied and marched together in the cities of their state capitols. Labriska Humphrey organized a march in Frankfort to support her fellow nurses on Capitol Hill. 

“We want good conditions so we don’t make mistakes,” Humphrey said. “We’re at the point where nurses just want to be heard now. We’ve been really busy just working.”

Nurses walk up stairs to Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort during march for nurses during National Nurses Week. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

She and the Kentucky nurses that joined her Thursday support H.R. 3165/S.1567 which calls for Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2021 and H.R. 1195 which calls for Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. 

Humphrey has 20 years of the nursing profession under her belt. She marched, disaffiliated from the hospital she works for in Kentucky, and declined to mention her workplace.

The National Nurses March seeks federal changes to the profession of nursing.

“Nurses across the nation need federal mandates like the Safe Staffing Act and the Workplace Violence Act to be passed now. An opportunity has been given to those that oppose safe staffing ratios and the consequences of their failures are weight carried by nurses,” said Humphrey.

Cherie Hubbard-Webb was one nurse at the march in Frankfort who said the weight has increased significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nursing shortage. She’s been in the profession for 29 years.

“It’s really hard. It’s physically hard. It’s emotionally hard. It’s mentally hard. And when COVID came through, we all banded together and we worked extra shifts and we took care of the patients that came in because that was what we were there for,” said Hubbard-Webb.

The Kentucky nurses taking part in Thursday’s march say they won’t stop until a change is made at the federal level that will affect all 50 states.

“I really think that this is something that shouldn’t be determined by states, this should be something that’s federal and that’s really the point here,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey wants and needs politicians to keep listening to her concerns about the nursing profession. She says if a change is not made soon, it will lead to a continued nurse shortage and burnout.