Nursing Excellence During COVID-19
Chelsea Woodell, MSN, APRN-CNS, ACCNS-AG, CCRN-K and Lindsey Tehansky, BSN, RN, CCRN, are two of seven education specialists within the Center for Nursing Excellence, who worked together to quickly design and implement two training pathways that would provide nurses with the necessary skills to work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Medical/Surgical (Med/Surg) Unit regardless of their current specialty. The trainings consisted of skills and topics including patient assessment, nursing care of a mechanically ventilated patient, medication administration, diabetes management, oxygen delivery devices, and more. These learned skills would allow fellow nurses to support the nursing staff in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases. “It was very overwhelming to think of the responsibility our team had to increase the capacity of GBMC’s nursing workforce in a small amount of time. But, while there was a lot of pressure and stress, our whole team felt a great sense of pride for GBMC Nursing and how everyone came together during this critical time,” explains Chelsea.
The team knew that both the ICU and Med/Surg units would be needed to treat patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and patients under investigation (PUI) with pending results. “It was challenging to execute something of this magnitude in a timely fashion. There was a lot of uncertainty amongst ourselves, nursing staff, and really, the world when COVID-19 first hit,” says Lindsey, “There were many long days, but seeing these nurses come to their trainings with such positive attitudes was very motivational for our team and made us excited about our accomplishments as a group.”
Several nurses volunteered to participate in training to support their fellow colleagues in the fight against COVID-19. “It was amazing to see how many nurses came forward with an eagerness to help these patients and how many nurses precepted in an effort to prepare the surge nurses as much as they could,” Chelsea said. But the training for COVID-19 did not stop in the classroom. Nurses were assigned to different units for clinical time where they were evaluated based on their feelings, accomplishments, confidence levels, and more. GBMC’s Nursing Leadership played an integral part in assuring this seamless transition of newly trained nurses and accurate placements based upon skill levels.
Missy Meyers, BSN, RN, took part in the training and said the following about her experience, “As a nurse of 26 years, I was so impressed with the level of preparation taken by GBMC. I was an ICU/Trauma nurse for 10 years and have spent the last 15 years in Post Anesthesia Recovery. I am also from New York and began my professional career at large hospital in the city. When COVID-19 began, my manager reached out to evaluate our staff’s level of comfort should we be reallocated. I, along with some of my coworkers, volunteered to take part in the re-education to assist the ICU. After my training, I felt more than ready to jump in as needed to an ICU role. I appreciate the fact that GBMC took the steps to really prepare their nurses for a variety of situations that they may have encountered during this crisis.”
Jennifer Gall, BSN, RN, also participated in the training and greatly valued her experience. “Our Nurses at GBMC are very detail-oriented and took every precaution to keep our staff safe while training us to care for COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients. As a nurse in the Operating Room, I have 12 years of previous nursing experience and my preceptors were able to train me accordingly. I felt as though most of the staff on the floor was kind, accepting, and helpful to new faces which was comforting,” she explained.
GBMC HealthCare is incredibly proud and extremely grateful for all of our healthcare professionals who have stepped up in such a challenging time. As an organization, we are proud to provide advancements in education while encouraging all employees to have a questioning attitude that serves to continually improve processes, quality, and safety. To learn how you can support our healthcare heroes, please visit www.gbmc.org/donations or donate to the GBMC HealthCare Workers Fund which helps those sacrificing so much to protect our community.