ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, life for many health care workers has been flipped upside down. The virus is forcing those on the frontline to adapt to new training as they work around the clock to slow the spread of the virus.
Crystal Gutierrez spoke with local nurse practitioner Gloria Doherty to discuss how healthcare workers are putting their safety on the line to make sure their communities remain safe.
“My typical day before COVID-19 was a lot less stressful,” said Gloria. “And a little bit slower. It involved taking care of patients if they were in the hospital as well as talking with their family members right there along with their plan of care. So, everybody felt involved in the care of that patient.”
Gloria explains that the care nurses and nurse practitioners at her hospital is holistic and that they like to include every facet of people’s lives in that care. This has since changed as visitors are no longer prohibited at hospitals regardless if that patient is being treated for COVID-19 or not.
“It takes extra care to make sure we are communicating with those families and updating them with the care of their loved one and particularly the times when the patient can’t communicate with the family themselves,” said Gloria.
She says she is now more responsible with the clinical care of her patients and she is often not seeing patient in person during their clinic visits. Gloria assists in the virus testing center and explains that since the outbreak, her work has become more broad.
“There is a lot of fear, and there is a lot of mistrust in the nursing community about the recommendations for PPE changing where they think the changing recommendations are because of the lack of PPE as opposed to the changing recommendations on a novel virus that we’re still learning about.”
While Gloria has used safety equipment previously, she says many nurses have not which does require training. In addition to N95 face masks, they also are using face shields, isolation gowns, gloves, and head coverings to protect themselves from the virus.
Staff must make sure they put the equipment on appropriately to ensure they are protected and then take it off without contaminating other items.