RNs possibly reassigned due to COVID-19

by RNCardiacRose RNCardiacRose (New) New Nurse

Has 6 years experience.

Many hospitals in my area are setting up tents in anticipation of the influx of patients with COVID-19, and I have received notice that staff members at my facility may be "reassigned" if the need arises. I currently work in a prep and recovery area and worked in cardiac PCU for two years. Given what we are seeing occur in hospitals in Italy, I feel that it would be wise to try to prepare for possible reassignment to ER or even ICU nursing. I realize that these specialties can't be learned in a few days (Understatement of the year, I know). However, if any of you more experienced nurses would share your insight or point me to some sources, I would greatly appreciate it. Even if I never get reassigned, I gain some knowledge and a greater appreciation for what you all do daily!

Edited by RNCardiacRose

Booty Nurse

Booty Nurse, BSN

Specializes in OR, PACU, GI, med-surg, OB, school nursing. Has 19 years experience. 93 Posts

I’m an OR/PACU nurse and went down to per diem a few months ago. On Monday my hospital finally decided to cancel elective surgeries, and I was temporarily laid off. But not for long - yesterday I was asked to work in our new negative pressure unit with a presumed COVID-19 patient (awaiting test results). Yikes! I have a choice of an N95 or a PAPR. Which is more tolerable for a 10 hour shift?

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

When assigned to a unit I'm not fully trained in, it's been in a reduced or assistive role. I've worked mother and baby, but assigned no babies, for example. I've worked ER, but had no patients of my own. I just helped the regular ER nurses with various tasks.

I can't imagine they would expect to "toss" you into an ICU to work independently without a full orientation. Same with ER. I would flat out refuse primary care of patients I was unqualified to care for, but I am always willing to help as capable on any unit.

Edited by Sour Lemon



Has 6 years experience. 2 Posts

Thanks for your replies.

My department depends heavily on elective procedures, too. They've been talking about cutting hours. I feel that we are missing an opportunity to allow the staff to shadow wherever they feel we may be reassigned while we wait for the wave to hit. I hope you're right, Sour Lemon that we won't be put in a position to do more than we've been trained for, but I don't think it's an impossibility. Best of luck to you, Booty Nurse. I have never had to wear a PAPR and only have worn N95 for short periods of time, so I can't advise on that. Stay safe.