I am an emergency multi-care tech in the emergency room, so I know all too well about COVID and how it is affecting our community. I really wanted to get a different point of view about everything that's going on, so I interviewed a labor and delivery nurse up in Springfield, MO. Here is what they had to say.
How long have you been a nurse?
21 years. I graduated nursing school in 1999.
What department do you work in?
Labor and delivery.
What is your hospital's procedure in regard to COVID-19 patient care?
If we thought someone was potentially exposed, they would need to be evaluated by a staff member who has been tested for the N-95 masks. That nurse would see if the patient should be tested for COVID. However, all testing of potential COVID patients needs to be approved by the hospital's infection prevention team. Essentially, they should be sent home and told to self-isolate.
What is the protocol if you (or another nurse) show signs of infection?
We wouldn't be allowed to work. We would be told to follow up with our PCP (primary care provider) and self isolate for 14 days or until proven negative for COVID. They also encourage us to use the virtual visit feature to encourage people to not come into the hospital/urgent care setting.
Do you have enough PPE?
We currently have enough PPE. However, several of the staff try to reuse surgical masks unless the mask becomes soiled. Serval of us use cloth surgical caps instead of using the hospital supplies.
What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19?
Wearing a mask from the minute I get out of my car until I return to my car at the end of my shift...with the exception of when I am eating, of course.
Describe your hospital's atmosphere.
Quiet, because of visitor restrictions. Overall, pretty normal. Most people are staying positive. We have fantastic, supportive leadership.
How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19? Accurate? Downplaying the situation?
Media tends to overdramatize everything, including COVID-19. However, I believe it is a real health concern, not to be taken lightly.
What is one thing you wish you could tell the country about COVID-19?
Don't put other people in jeopardy if you have potential symptoms. Self-isolate.
How has your personal life been impacted by COVID-19?
It hasn't been. My family hasn't been able to get together with friends, but we are keeping in touch virtually.
Are there any stories of hope that you can share with us?
Out of the vast amount of tests that are run for COVID, including in our institution, the majority of them are negative. Most people seem to be recovering. As with all things, this too shall pass.
What advice can you give us for staying as healthy as possible?
Eat an apple every day. JK! Wash your hands well and maintain social distancing.
What can citizens in your area do to help healthcare workers fight COVID-19?
Continue to provide masks and scrub hats and any equipment that is in short supply.