Travel Nurse Guide to Care in the Coronavirus Era
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As if working as a travel nurse isn’t adventurous enough. The introduction of COVID-19 has truly altered what it means to work in healthcare. COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. Symptoms include:
- shortness of breath,
- muscle aches and
- many other symptoms that are still being reported and closely studied.
To best prepare, here is your Travel Nurse Guide to Care in the Coronavirus Era.
Transmission of Coronavirus
Transmission occurs through droplets released into the air when someone infected with the virus sneezes or coughs. The timeline of the virus being aerosolized and infecting a new host is still being closely studied. This is why the implementation of wearing a mask in public has become the new norm. Other imperative ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to
- practice social distancing,
- rigorous hand washing and
- avoidance of touching one’s face with unclean hands
Coronavirus Era Social Changes
You have likely noticed the changes in our everyday interactions with others including:
- avoidance of hand-shaking,
- standing six feet apart,
- limitations on individuals allowed in a closed spaces
This includes people allowed in grocery stores at a given time. The avoidance of spaces where many would be closely gathered reduces transmission possibility. Our world has absolutely been shaken by the chaos of what this virus has introduced. Essential workers are putting in endless hours of work to stock shelves, ensure safety, protect the community and save lives.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
PPE stands for personal protective equipment. It has been a topic of concern from the very beginning of learning about COVID-19. Quickly it has become apparent that hospitals around the country were low on supplies that healthcare workers needed. These supplies protect healthcare workers when treating COVID positive patients. Many facilities were necessitating the re-use of masks, barrier gowns, gloves and supplies in a way that had never been done before. Drastic times, call for drastic measures. These single use PPE items that workers became very used to tossing in the trash after completing patient care became items placed in plastic or paper bags and wiped down for use on the next patient. Concerning to healthcare workers but also necessary with the extreme lack of PPE in facilities. The potential transmission of the virus becomes astronomical when considering the alternative of not using PPE. The re-use of protective equipment is as follows.
Coronavirus Era Guide to Re-Using PPE
Step 1: Hand Hygiene
When re-using PPE, it is important to be very vigilant with hand hygiene and environment awareness. Be mindful of where you place your hands and do not touch your face. Prepare yourself mentally for this prior to attempting to put back on PPE.
Step 2: Disinfect
Wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant and not touching the face with unclean hands will help prevent the spread of any viral components. Wipe down any place your hand touches the equipment. Be mindful to hang up any item that you plan to reuse.
Step 3: Consolidate Patient Visits
Ideally a new face mask, gown and gloves for each patient encounter is best but coupling patient care will lower the times you’re forced to re-use PPE. For example giving medications and doing an assessment all in one encounter in a patients’ room will prevent you from entering the room twice to complete these tasks which in turn helps reduce exposure.
And beyond hospital walls, the lack of PPE trickles out into the personal lives of those on the front lines. Questions swirling in the heads of nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and all those treating COVID positive patients are often: Will I infect my family if I go home after my shift? Is it safe to return to the house when an elderly family member lives there? Should I remove all clothing before stepping in the front door to prevent transmission or is it somehow living on my skin or hair? Healthcare workers have been overwhelmed physically and mentally by the effects of COVID and not having the adequate PPE while caring for patients has only added strain.
Living in this unprecedented time that this virus has introduced can quickly become overwhelming. Please make sure to take care of yourself and one another. Check the Travel Nurse Guide to Care in the Coronavirus Era for how to protect yourself. Check in on friends and loved ones and find ways to stay connected. Wash your hands, continue practicing social distancing and do your part to help defeat COVID-19.
For more information on the Coronavirus and how to stay safe, visit the
CDC’s Coronavirus information page.
Whether you’re an established nurse looking to shake things up or you’re just starting a career as an RN, Travelnursingdirect.com is here to help. Join our community of future and current travel nurses by clicking HERE
Katherine Reagan has been a nurse for 5 years. Her site www.onehappynurse.com shares tips and tricks on what it takes to be a successful Travel and Staff Nurse. If you are a nursing student, she will help you prepare with real life examples and ways to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically while you are still in school.