Heartbroken nurse released due to hospital vaccination warrant

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WADING RIVER, NY – After Monday’s deadline for New York health care workers to be vaccinated or fired, registered nurse Brittany Luberda, a mother of two young children, found herself out of work.



Brittany Luberda, along with husband Matt and children Jaxson and Devyn, chose not to get the vaccine and lost her nursing job this week.


© Courtesy of Brittany Luberda
Brittany Luberda, along with husband Matt and children Jaxson and Devyn, chose not to get the vaccine and lost her nursing job this week.

Sharing her story with Patch, Luberda said she must follow her personal beliefs, despite the impact on her livelihood. Luberda, who lives in Wading River with her husband Matt and two children, Jaxson, 5, and Devyn, 2, worked as a registered nurse at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson and Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, all two of Northwell’s health facilities.

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“My personal choice not to get the vaccine is not only a reason, but the culmination of many factors,” she said.

Not only did she refuse the vaccination because of her faith and religious beliefs, but she also felt skepticism about a forced warrant “which is not a law”. And, she said, she firmly believes in the mantra, “My body, my choice. “There isn’t enough research to get vaccinated,” Luberda said. “We are a healthy and prosperous young family looking to grow in the near future,” she said.

Additionally, Luberda said she has had COVID-19 but the state does not accept having antibodies as sufficient reason to allow healthcare workers to stay in their jobs.

Governor Kathy Hochul said on Monday that the the clock was ticking for all health care workers to be vaccinated, a mandate announced in August by the government of the day. Andrew Cuomo. Those who did not comply would lose their jobs, she said.

“My priority is to stop this virus in its tracks,” she said. “The only way to do it is to make sure everyone is vaccinated, but especially the caregivers.”

Luberda took to social media this week to share her feelings about the tenure: “I can’t act like today is easy.”

She added: “I took care of your babies coming out of the operating room. I held the hands of your aged parents confused because they were lying down and reassured them that I was there and that they would be fine. I handled your child’s critical vent and drops after a traumatic motorcycle accident. I was scratched and pushed by your disabled and scared child and told them I was there anyway to help them, ”she said.

Luberda was devastated but felt she had to follow her beliefs. “My love for this career doesn’t end today just because I’m forced to leave. I still love my patients, colleagues and all the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s not over. . I really believe when one door closes another will open and a better opportunity too. “

Northwell Health released a statement Wednesday.

“Northwell Health is proud that our workforce – the largest in New York State – is nearly 100% vaccinated. This includes both our clinical and non-clinical team members, as the scope of our policy goes beyond the state’s vaccine mandate guidelines, ”the statement said. read.

“Northwell has taken a rapid and aggressive approach to successfully move towards full immunization compliance while maintaining continuity of care and ensuring that our high standards of patient safety are not compromised in any way. Unfortunately, we had to lay off a few hundred employees, but we are happy to report that most of the team members are choosing to be vaccinated in order to avoid being made redundant. Again, this process had no impact on the quality of our patient care, ”the statement said.

But for Luberda, the impact was very personal. She ended her Facebook post with the words “a heartbroken nurse”.

Being forced out of her post has been particularly difficult after the difficult months of the pandemic, she said. “Working in the healthcare industry in early 2020 was unlike anything I have seen or heard before. My colleagues deserve all the thanks and praise for the hard work, dedication, and countless stressful hours they all put into helping and saving lives. “

Her daughter was only four months old at the time, so Luberda said she was home with her when the pandemic first hit. “When I returned to the hospital at the end of April 2020, everything was different. The hospital needed all hands on deck to navigate the new way of caring.” The pandemic, she said, “has just decimated emergency rooms and intensive care units,” she said.

Luberda believes healthcare workers, including nurses like her, should have the same rights that are given to patients. “Their right to choose or not to choose treatments is up to them, and we need to educate them about their decisions – but ultimately respect their final say. I would never treat any of my patients differently for making a personal choice that is best for them and Their families. “

She has seen many vaccinated colleagues and friends contract COVID-19, as well as those who are not vaccinated and are recovering well, Luberda said.

“I am grateful to have had a quick and easy illness and recovery,” she said.

Losing her job, however, will pose great challenges, Luberda said.

“Living on Long Island, most families have two incomes. We got used to our way of life, ”she said.

Luberda said she and her husband even talked about leaving New York. They have decided that for now, they can survive with his job loss, at least temporarily. “I have no doubt that this unfortunate and unjustified dismissal will open up other opportunities. I have been in contact with like-minded professionals, PIs, RNs etc. to find out where we are going from. ‘here, and we’re all hoping for new opportunities, “she said.

Additionally, Luberda said the use of social media sparked a surge of cuteness. Posting her situation on the Facebook pages of two parent groups, she said, “I was overwhelmed by the support from these communities. Over 400 comments of support, love and appreciation as well as people related to job loss, frustration and uncertainty. Of course, some people disagreed on some things, but overall I am grateful to the people who tie their arms and support our healthcare staff in these stressful times. “

Others have cried out against the warrant this week.

Surrounded by people carrying signs saying “I am informed. I do not agree ”and“ End medical tyranny ” Representative Lee Zeldin held a rally on Monday detonate a health care vaccination warrant that he says could lead to “chaos” – and call on Hochul to revoke the measure.

Hochul said Monday that the mandate could cause “avoidable” shortages.

Zeldin said the mandate would leave healthcare workers who stepped up during the pandemic without paychecks and ineligible for unemployment benefits.

“The governor’s tenure is causing staff shortages and chaos in our state’s hospitals and nursing homes, and abruptly forcing frontline healthcare workers to lose their livelihoods. “

Calling the order “one size fits all,” Zeldin said there were reasonable alternatives, including improved personal protective equipment and testing requirements.

“Our healthcare workers have been nothing short of heroic over the past 18 months. . . They helped us through some of the darker days of the pandemic and saved lives, ”Zeldin said. “We should not be laying off these essential workers. We should thank them for everything they have done for our communities.

In areas where health workers have chosen not to be vaccinated, Hochul said she would convene an operations center; She has asked hospitals where large numbers of people have been vaccinated to give the state the names of those willing to deploy elsewhere to help alleviate staff shortages.

Hochul also signed an executive order giving him the emergency powers necessary to deal with shortages, wherever they occur, and allowing him to deploy the medically trained National Guard. The order will also allow it to deploy people, who have either been retired or may have had a license interruption, and finally, bring in workers from elsewhere to help.

“This is self-defense,” Hochul said. “I am here to defend the people of New York.”

Luberda, meanwhile, said not only that she was let go, but that her children were required to wear masks at school. she is worried about the future of health care, she said.

She thanked her colleagues “who held their heads high, with integrity and faith. For me, nursing isn’t just a job and it’s not just a job loss. For me and for many others, nursing is a calling in life – and right now, I feel aggrieved for doing what I thought was right in my heart. “

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