It’s all over the news, no matter which state you live in, no matter your political leanings. People are going about their daily lives wearing masks, liking and sharing memes about washing hands on their social media accounts, and compulsively using antibacterial hand sanitizers.
However, the level of seriousness has bumped up, as universities across the nation have started announcing they will switch to online classes after spring break until the outbreak clears. Professional sports leagues are suspending games indefinitely, and kids’ schools and daycares have been warning they may close for a while. The coronavirus is here, and it’s scaring people. You’re already aware that there’s been no shortage of jobs for nurses for a while, and that the job outlook for nurses for the next ten years continues to be promising. The coronavirus has the potential to really slant things further as nurses on the frontlines are exposed and unable to work their very necessary jobs.
Are Facilities Ready for a Spike in COVID-19 Cases?
National Nurses United, a large nurses union in California, released preliminary results of a survey inquiring of their nurses if their facilities had a plan in place or access to personal protective equipment. According to Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of National Nurses United:
“The survey results confirm what we have been hearing from nurses across the country: Hospitals are not prepared. This crisis highlights our country’s completely fractured health care system and failure to invest in public health. Facilities don’t have a plan, or they haven’t explained the plan, or they don’t have the supplies, equipment, and training to carry out any plan. The outcome of this chaos is that health care workers, patients, and the entire community are exposed to this virus and needlessly put at risk.”
Issues Concerning Coronavirus Testing
Nurses in California have come forward reporting major concerns over the amount of time it takes to get coronavirus test results. Two nurses who had been exposed to the coronavirus reported having to wait for a week for test results. Both of them reported having difficulty even getting the testing done.
The lack of ease with which a person can be tested for coronavirus, including medical professionals who are at higher risk of exposure could seriously impact how quickly the coronavirus will spread, and to whom.
The nursing workforce is already stretched thin, but as ranks on the frontline are exposed either by our patients or by our undiagnosed or unrelieved coworkers, we nurses need to be vigilant about keeping track of our personal health, advocating for testing availability, navigating the system, arming ourselves with knowledge, and working when and where we can.
Following Appropriate Guidelines to Prevent Spreading Coronavirus
Arming ourselves with knowledge means not only checking with our medical facilities about planning, policies, and prevention in case of suspected exposure to the coronavirus. It also means, reviewing recommendations and guidelines put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for example, they have a webinar “Strategies for Healthcare Systems Preparedness and Optimizing N95 Supplies” that anyone can watch. Of special interest may be their list of guidelines of what to do as a healthcare worker if you find yourself providing care of a PUI (person under investigation) or a person who has been confirmed to have coronavirus. The full list can be found on the CDC website, here, but we’ve got them here for your quick review as well:
“Healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 should adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC):
- Assess and triage these patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the patient and isolating them in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available
- Use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions and eye protection when caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19
- Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE, including gloves. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled
- Practice how to properly don, use, and doff PPEpdf icon in a manner to prevent self-contamination
- Perform aerosol-generating procedures, including a collection of diagnostic respiratory specimens, in an AIIR, while following appropriate IPC practices, including use of appropriate PPE”
The World Health Organization has also put out a course online, available here to anyone, with the title, “Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response, and control”.
Pick Up PRN Nursing Shifts with an App
Nursa™ can help you with finding work when and where you want it. If you haven’t already downloaded our application to your smartphone, then don’t wait another day. Nursa™ is a smartphone application that allows you to create your nursing profile, including your credentials which can be verified and then saved. Once your profile is complete and your qualifications and credentials verified, we then connect you immediately to job and shift vacancies.
Our set up allows for vacancies on shifts to be filled by you, daily. This almost seamless connection will help in the combat against coronavirus because the sooner that more vacancies can be filled the better. Whether it be through travel destination assignments, or just per diem shifts (PRN) when our medical facilities are fully staffed we nurses (and other medical professionals) can do our jobs better.
As the nation starts shutting events and schools down, other people are preparing to work from home. We nurses don’t have that kind of job. We work. We provide care. We help, no matter who is sick, or with what. We’ve been on the frontlines battling Influenza, H1N1, MRSA, and more. Our communities get through these hard times, largely because of us.
Nursa™ places travel nurses across the nation in medical facilities of all sizes, positions of all specialties. We also connect nurses to PRN shifts in Idaho and Utah. Working even one PRN shift a week could be a big help, not just for your bank account, but for the community, and for the other medical staff. If you’re a facility that needs to get some shifts filled or a nurse looking to pick up prn nursing shifts, download the Nursa™ app today.