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Masks at the nurse's station

MICU   (828 Views | 4 Replies)

2,329 Profile Views; 36 Posts

Hi all,

I work in a trauma ICU. We currently have enough PPE to wear when taking care of COVID-19 patients or rule out patients.

My question is about how you are protecting yourself in the hospital in general. I am practicing social distancing at home. I cross the street if another person approaches when I am walking my dog. I get my groceries only through no-contact doorstep delivery. I wipe down and wear gloves at the gas pump.

But when I'm getting report, or in the huddle room before shift, or sitting at the nurse's station, I am completely exposed. Nurses are not allowed to wear masks generally in the hospital. I think it's incredibly likely that some nurses will be exposed on public transit, or at the store, and become asymptomatic carriers and could spread the infection through staff as if we're a cruise ship!

What's your hospital policy on wearing your own mask when interacting with other staff? Our nursing supervisors, RT's, housekeeping, security all wear masks all the time but nurses are not allowed. What's your take?

Thanks!

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by KR Member Nurse

KR specializes in ICU, Agency, Travel, Pediatric Home Care, LTAC, Su.

291 Posts; 7,132 Profile Views

Sorry I am no help as I am waiting to land my travel contract or decide to just volunteer with one of my teams. Wth wontthey let nurses that I'm assuming r not 6' away from each other, heck even if they r, where masks all the time?! That is not best practice and just asking for trouble. I would be wearing a mask regardless. Something I will be adding into my written contract. Prayers management changes their mind to keep ALL their employee safer.

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KellyRN86 has 11 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Medical ICU.

13 Posts; 936 Profile Views

Right now all of the hospital staff where I work has to wear a mask at all times. There are only two entrances open to the hospital now, staffed by 1-2 people whose only job is to direct you to use hand sanitizer then hand you a surgical mask to wear the rest of your shift. You wear it for all your patients as well. In the ICU most of our covid pts are on airborne so we wear an n95 (we get one per week unless it gets gross). It all stemmed from a patient coming in for a reason completely unrelated to Covid (more an Ortho reason) and he ended up deteriorating and being covid positive and exposed so many people.

It does get annoying wearing a mask the entire shift but I appreciate that they care enough about us versus their image. Especially since visitors are almost completely restricted except very specific circumstances, who cares if you are wearing a mask??

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CCU BSN RN has 7 years experience and specializes in CICU, Telemetry.

272 Posts; 4,645 Profile Views

Yeah from whenever COVID started until about 4 days ago, management would basically give a verbal warning and then take disciplinary action against staff wearing masks outside of designated areas. I wish I had the ingenuity to start shouting report at my colleagues from 6 feet away during this time. I'm a big fan of having fun with policies.

When we got 'dirty units' or COVID units- policy changed that we are supposed to wear a surgical mask at all times on the unit- in all locations, and put on our N95 and rest of PPE to enter rooms.

About 4 days ago the rule changed to wear a mask 100 percent of the time while in any area in the hospital- they hand them out inside the front door. I haven't checked my emails about where we're supposed to be allowed to take them off and eat. Mostly because I haven't eaten food at work in a month.

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36 Posts; 2,329 Profile Views

Well they changed the policy so then we were each issued an expired N95 for each week to wear at the nurse's station. As long as you replaced the brittle elastic straps with new rubber bands, they seemed to work OK (they were just kind of smelly after a few days.) Nurses were still getting in trouble for wearing cloth masks.

Now they changed it again so now we're supposed to wear cloth masks brought from home at the nurses station.

Anyway, I definitely feel more protected in any mask at all. I just wish management could take a more supportive role rather than always just being on the lookout for something to punish us for.

Thanks for all the input!

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