COVID-19 Testing

Posted

So I’m torn. I’m the nursing supervisor at an urgent care facility. My boss just informed me we are to start COVID-19 testing in the near future. They have stocked us with disposable gowns and Home Depot safety glasses (insert eye roll) and surgical masks. They state that due to shortage they cannot provide us with n95s. They have sent us email after email quoting the cdc that a surgical mask can be just as effective as an n95 if the patient and the healthcare worker are both wearing masks even if the patient is covid+. Now that’s all well and good but what happens when I’m swabbing the patient and they cough on me? Is the surgical mask still “just as effective?” We’ve been open and seeing people and the staff is uneasy as am I but at least we have signs everywhere that we do not test or do anything related to COVID-19 in our facility so it has stopped a considerable amount of people from walking in the door. Our census is super low. Can’t help but feel that because the higher ups are losing money due to low volume they decided to risk employee safety to line their pockets... it puts a bad taste in my mouth and I know my staff will Absolutely lose their minds once this information is announced. Of course the company is saying “anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable working can come off the schedule unpaid or use your leave.” So my question is, is this my breaking point where I call their bluff and sit home? It’s hard being a leader as I feel if I do this then a lot of my staff will also follow my lead and want to stay home. What would you all do ?

HiddenAngels

HiddenAngels

Has 8 years experience. 688 Posts

Unfortunately we are all risking our lives at this point. Sometimes even with the best equipment out there we can never be too careful. We could catch it at a Target while shopping for toilet paper (if there are any left LOL).

But seriously, we are the HCPs, front liners as they say and this is our profession. Trust me, I FEEL your pain. I am faced with difficulties every day and our information is always changing at the hospital, not day-to-day, but shift-to shift. It can be scary. Just remember to always protect yourself as best you can!! With response to the effects it may have on your team, as a Leader it is tough because if something happens within your staff you will most likely take it personal. If you choose to stay and stick it out make sure you communicate effectively that you are making the decision that is best for you and that they should make decisions based on what is best for them. Same for if you choose to take a LOA. Hope this helps...

Innocent2021

Innocent2021, ADN, BSN

Specializes in ICU. Has 27 years experience. 31 Posts

I am horrified that you are being asked to do the tests without an N-95. Please don't.

DesertRosee

DesertRosee

48 Posts

35 minutes ago, innocence16 said:

I am horrified that you are being asked to do the tests without an N-95. Please don't.

Yes, it’s honestly pretty scary. I was speaking to one of our providers about it and he said we would be at high risk if there was a covid+ patient who coughed while we were swabbing and all we had was a surgical mask on. Honestly my parents live with me and I just cant afford to bring it home and don’t have anywhere else to go in the meantime. I’ll reserve judgement until the official policy and procedure comes out but if we’re testing without n95s then I will have to bow out. And I know a lot of the other nurses and MAs will too. I think if the people making these decisions were actually on the front lines swabbing these people without appropriate PPE then things would be going differently.

On 3/27/2020 at 4:02 PM, DesertRosee said:

They have sent us email after email quoting the cdc that a surgical mask can be just as effective as an n95 if the patient and the healthcare worker are both wearing masks even if the patient is covid+.

Even though the CDC claims that facemasks are acceptable alternatives in this shortage, they also say that for specimen collections you have to use something at least as protective as an N95 respirator. A facemask is not enough protection.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/guidance-evaluating-pui.html

ICURN1010

ICURN1010

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience. 7 Posts

That is absolutely unsafe! I've gotten tested before and I couldn't help but cough in the poor nurse's face because of how far they have to stick the swab. Luckily she had on a face shield, n95, tyvek suit, etc. Please protect yourself a surgical mask isn't enough. I work in a hospital and there was a floor where all they were giving were surgical masks and at one point 12 nurses were out sick. You dont know if your symptoms will be mild moderate or God forbid severe. I hope there is something you can do to get an n95. I am a pregnant nurse and this whole situation, even though my job worked with me, caused me to go on maternity leave extremely early. That was the last thing I wanted to do but I felt I had no choice because my baby's safety was at risk. I really hope you get proper protection

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 9,470 Posts

Please advocate for your own safety.