Nurses Week, May 6-12, is usually a time of year when nurses have a chance to gather together to celebrate their profession and recognize those who have gone above and beyond. However, nurses won’t be able to get together this year, let alone take much time to reflect on the important work they do. They’re busy doing what they do best – rallying together in times of great need to ensure the best possible care for their patients. And now more than ever, we need their expertise.
Throughout the last couple of months, nurses across our organization have been preparing for a possible surge in patients due to COVID-19. That preparation has involved space planning, skills training, new infection control guidelines, switching of roles, teaching non-licensed caregivers, mentoring redeployed caregivers, and so much more.
Nurse Devin Kilpatrick (right) demonstrates how to use the Alaris IV pump with fellow nurse, Sara Booth, at the Health Sciences Building in Rapid City.
“I think now more than ever, it’s nice when others say, ‘We appreciate you and know what you’re doing is hard,” said Rebecca Bradley, MSN, RN, Nursing Professional Development (NPD) Practitioner. “We knew going into this that there were going to be hard days, but it’s nice to know that others care and want to support us.”
Rebecca and her NPD colleagues dropped everything several weeks ago to organize trainings for both clinical and nonclinical caregivers so that Monument Health is as prepared as possible for a potential summertime peak in COVID-19 cases. Nurses who aren’t currently working in acute inpatient care are brushing up on skills like wound care, catheters, IV pumps, etc. And caregivers who have never had a patient care job are learning Patient Care Champion (PCC) skills such as how to transfer patients, give bed baths and take vitals.
Devin Kilpatrick, BSN, RN on the Progressive Care Unit at Rapid City Hospital, and John Cina, BSN, RN in Surgical Services at the Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital, have taken on temporary roles as co-facilitators for both types of trainings. As of May 1, a total of 272 caregivers from all markets had gone through PCC or nurse training.
John said it’s been invigorating to see the licensed nurses come through training. “Everybody is grateful and excited for the chance to practice, so that’s been invigorating for me.”
“The sheer amount of people willing to step up and go out of their comfort zone has been amazing,” said Devin, speaking of nonclinical caregivers who volunteered to learn the PCC role. “It just lets me know that if we end up in that type of situation, I won’t be alone. And we let them know that if and when it comes down to it, we’ll be right there beside them.”
John and Devin agreed that while they knew they would face challenges as nurses, they never imagined a situation where their job could potentially keep them from their family for months for fear of exposing them to a deadly virus. Still, we’re trusting them, as we always do, with what we value most – our lives and the lives of our families.
So as we approach Nurses Week, think about the nurses you know. But don’t just think about them. Text them. Call them. Let them know you are thankful for what they do, and maybe ask how they’ve been doing lately. It’s the least we can do during a time when we’re asking so much from them.