During the COVID-19 pandemic everyone has had to continually adapt. Life as we know it seemed to change in a matter of days. As cities all over the United States slowly make their way back to “normal,” one thing remains: our member’s ability to stick together and work as a team for the greater good of their communities.AARC member Chelsea Evans, RRT, RCP, is on staff at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC. Evans was invited to present a day in the life of a COVID-19 Unit Team to the Vidant Health board of directors. She joined the medical Director of MICU, Dr. Ogugua Obi, and Jenna LaBombard, CCRN, in describing the changes to normal practice. Evans was one of the first to step up and volunteer to work in these ICU pods.
Working through challenges
“Within the Vidant system, we have seen great teamwork among physicians and care teams,” Evans said. “They are communicating regularly to decide whether or not the patients at smaller outlying facilities need to be transferred to Vidant Medical Center for further management of care. Within Vidant Medical Center, the different teams of doctors caring for COVID-19 patients are working closely together to ensure the patient is receiving the right level of care.”
Part of working as a team is conquering challenges that arise. A lot of challenges our members have never experienced before, which makes a team of great minds and different backgrounds important during a crisis.
“Initially, it was difficult for families to communicate with their loved ones due to visitation restrictions,” Evans said. “We have since developed a system that allows us to use technology so families can video chat with their family member. This has helped gain trust with families as they now have a better grasp on what is truly going on and the care plan.”
Thinking outside the box
Many teams had to develop some out of the box methods to help keep patients and staff safe.
“When we had our first COVID-19 patient, we moved the ventilator monitor and IV pumps outside of the room to allow for closer monitoring of the patients,” Evans said. “Speaking from a respiratory standpoint, this meant having someone design brackets to hold the ventilator monitor on a pole outside of the room and create extensions for the air and oxygen lines.“ Where do we go from here?
With many facilities still fighting this crisis and others’ slowly heading back to normal, where do we go from here? Evans says it’s all about teamwork.
“My suggestion to fellow colleagues would be to slow down, take your time assessing patients and work together with the team to make the right decisions for the care of these patients,” Evans said. “We are all a team, and without teamwork, what we do on a daily basis would not be possible.”