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Reflections on COVID-19 Editor’s Note: This survey was conducted with INS members in late June/early July. As clinicians currently care for patients infected with the Delta variant, some of these answers from only two months ago seem to have come from a more hopeful period. We have confidence cases again will fall, and we appreciate you continuing to share about this pivotal and difficult time.
How did you adjust your practices for COVID-19? And/or how did your workplace adjust their practices and/or regulations? Tracey Campbell, Clinical Specialist: We wore a mask and used additional PPE for protection. If exposed, we required a negative COVID test to return to work or quarantine for 14 days. Lisa Rioux, Nurse Manager: We brought IV pumps outside the patient rooms in the critical-care areas to reduce the number of times and [number of] people who would need to enter the rooms. Anonymous: We took more time to prepare for visits in the home. We assessed from the car and spent minimal time in the home. We donned PPE and prepared prior to the visit. Richelle Hamblin, Director of Nursing: The hospital established specific units for patients diagnosed with COVID. They also had SICU and MICU. The goal was to keep sicker patients in MICU. We also needed overflow for both critical and noncritical patients. Our ER was frequently back-logged and staffing issues were a major concern. Mangers and anyone who could assist were called upon to work at the bedside. I was forced to work a 24-hour shift, 12 hours in management followed by another 12-hour shift in patient care. I did receive an hour break between shifts—I should say I took an hour to eat and prepare myself. Bonuses were paid to staff to work extra hours. We rotated staff to the COVID units, but there was a great deal of pushback from staff and an exemption list was put into place, a short list of staff who were immunocompromised or in direct care of a family member who was immunocompromised. We have a PICC team but their hours did not change. We had no coverage at night or weekends for IV access. Anonymous, Veteran Affairs Nurse: The reuse of PPE and lack of equipment was shocking. Like many, my workplace moved nurses around to work in situation that they were not trained in.