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What can we do to help?


Specializes in Behavioral Health.

Hello everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone not working in specialty areas seeing COVID19 has any ideas on how we can be helping out our nurses who are seeing these patients? I'm a psychiatric nurse and right now my population is staying out of the hospital. It's at the point where my floor is shut down and I'm being utilized to float to the other psych floors to prevent overtime or just being called off. The idea that nurses who are at an elevated risk (older, comorbid conditions, pregnant, etc...) are being asked to put themselves at risk while I (young, healthy, no kids) am not being utilized is awful. I understand that I don't have the experience necessary to be on the front lines as a nurse in the ICU or ER, but surely there's someway to help? Does anyone have any ideas?

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Do you work at psych hospital, or are you part of a larger hospital system with medical/surgical services as well?

If you work at the latter type of facility and the medical/surgical/ED/ICU services are swamped, they might start floating low-census staff to those floors in a 'helping hands' capacity. I haven't seen it for psych, but I know our hospital has considered doing it for the outpatient clinic nurses and OR/PACU/same-day surgery nurses since all of our clinics have been closed and elective surgical procedures have been shut down. You may reach a point where interdepartmental floating is being mandated, but you could always ask your manager if there's any need for you to float to the medical side right now.

Our typical NICU ratio is one nurse to 2 or 3 babies; our backup plan if too many NICU nurses get sick and we can't staff the unit is that each NICU nurse will have 6 or 7 babies with a helper (clinic nurses, OR nurses, nurse assistants, whoever) whose job will just be feeding and diapering the kids while we do assessments, pass meds, etc. I doubt it will come to that, but if it does, I'd be happy for any extra help, regardless of whether or not people come with peds experience.

Honestly, I think the biggest thing you can do is to be thoughtful about your PPE use, and be strategic to try to minimize waste (for instance not gloving, then de-gloving, then re-gloving because you forgot something the first time). Really, all of the supply chains are messed up right now, not just PPE/sanitizer/sani-wipes, so any supplies that you can save now might prevent us from having a shortage later (even simple things like bathing supplies).