Theresa Brown is a clinical faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and author of “The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives.” The views expressed here are hers. Read more opinion on CNN. (CNN)Last week, I returned to the US from a family vacation in Spain, and am now completing 14 days of self-isolation, as required by my employer, the University of Pittsburgh. When these 14 days are up, I want to go back to bedside nursing and join the frontlines in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.But when I raised the issue with my family, my 21-year-old daughter cautioned, “Don’t do it if there isn’t protective equipment.”One might imagine such sage advice is unnecessary in one of the richest countries in the world, but alas, my daughter captured the essence of a frightening problem: Severe shortages of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses, doctors, and other health care workers.I first learned about the seriousness of the mask shortages from Twitter, where nurses shared the disturbing CDC guidance for health care providers (HCP) to use scarves or bandanas as a last resort if medically approved masks are not available. The more efficient N95 respirator masks, which filter out


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