The COVID-19 Pandemic
Q: How have you been able to support your nursing teams during the novel coronavirus crisis?
Lori Burnell, RN, BSN, Ph.D., NEA-BC
Sr. Vice President / Chief Nursing Officer
Valley Presbyterian Hospital
As a standalone community hospital, Valley Presbyterian must understand COVID-19 to effectively care for our patients and mitigate the imminent danger to our staff. To manage this crisis, we’ve opened a command center, and our executive team has met for six or more hours every day to proactively address issues and effectively manage escalation fears. We are providing the personal protective equipment our nursing staff needs to safeguard our own health so that we can focus on our patients.
Jennifer R. Castaldo, RN, BSN, MSHA, NEA-BC
Vice President / CNO
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
Two practices I’ve found are critically important during a crisis like this are consistent rounding to offer support and encouragement and ongoing training in isolation precautions and the proper use of personal protective equipment. In addition to classes, this includes daily rounds by our infection prevention staff, clinical educators, managers and directors. Our nurses are courageous and eager to serve. Being armed with the necessary knowledge allows them to focus on their important work.We’ve also taken a number of steps to help keep all our employees safe, including screening all employees as they come to work each day, implementing drive-through testing for COVID-19 to reduce staff exposure and converting units to cohort persons of interest and confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Derek Drake, RN, DNP, NE-BC, CNML, CNL
Chief Nursing Officer
St. Francis Medical Center
Our organization has spent the last three months developing and implementing comprehensive COVID-19 strategies. However, I’ve found that I’m best able to support my team by making myself as available as possible and empowering them with as much knowledge as I can. I’ve ditched the suit and tie and reverted to scrubs. I round frequently to answer questions, assist with clinical tasks, provide guidance on PPE or simply allow the staff to vent. We have created a daily dashboard to show our current COVID-19 statistics as well as an important message of the day. I’ve found that staff really appreciate the transparency of the data. Also, knowing that the quickest way to nurses’ hearts is through their stomachs, we have created a “Gratitude Cart” with snacks and treats. The entire executive team rounds with me weekly to thank our staff for their commitment and dedication.
Katie Hughes, RN, MSN, CRRN
Chief Nursing Officer
Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare
Early on in the pandemic, our hospital leadership recognized that the best way to help relieve the anxiety of the nurses and other clinical staff was to ensure they had the personal protective equipment they needed. Procurement of adequate PPE supplies became our highest priority as an organization. Thanks to some amazing donations and the resourcefulness of several of our hospital leaders, we have been able to ensure that our nurses have the equipment they need. However, although we can now say with greater confidence that we have adequate supplies to protect the clinical staff, this pandemic is ongoing, so PPE supplies remain one of our top priorities.