As the corona-virus pandemic spreads across the world, measures are being taken to support and protect nurses. In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare workforce, such as nurses, work tirelessly to provide care and reduce the death toll among victims. According to a recent report by Reuters, about 600 nurses worldwide have died from COVID-19 related complications. Consequently, nurses are in the front line in the fight against the disease, and that is why stringent precautions need to be taken to help them prevent being infected with COVID-19. Such precautions include;
Use of protective equipment
Protective equipment are an essential part of preventing infection of COVID-19 nurses when attending to patients. The World Health Organization has recommended personal protective equipment such as gloves, an N95 respirator or facemasks, face shield, and gown. The N95 respirators are not in plenty in most outpatient settings, but one can effectively use medical facemasks. Protective equipment are also issued to patients to prevent a back to back infection from laboratory-confirmed cases among the caregivers who are always exposed to COVID-19 patients.
Emergency department procedures
The emergency department works on the frontline of reducing the spread and effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In their routine, overcrowding becomes a concern, for there is a possibility of contact among the patients with respiratory symptoms. Therefore, the ED’s have been advised to supply the patients with facemasks, tissues, promote cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and encourage surface decontamination. Also, steps like rapid triage and isolation spaces are taken for COVID-19 patients who exhibit severe symptoms such as;
- Breathing difficulties and
- Loss of taste and smell
Hand Hygiene and Decontamination of Surfaces
Maintaining hand hygiene among nurses in the fight against the coronavirus is essential. All nurses have to focus on careful hand hygiene to avoid contamination of workspaces. WHO confirmed that the COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for several hours or even days. Therefore, nurses should regularly disinfect work area surfaces and personal items like keyboards, backpacks, and cell phones. Besides, they are advised to frequently clean commonly touched areas such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, chair arms, light switches, and handles around healthcare facilities.
Precautions on nurses
With the high number of COVID-19 infections in the community reported worldwide, nurses remain at a greater risk of being infected with the virus. Therefore, nurses must conduct a self-check, report any signs of the virus, and avoid engaging inpatient care if exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
Besides, nurses are at equal risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus, just like the rest of the public. Many nurses whose conditions elevate the risk of infection can result in death if infected with the virus. As a precaution, organizations have to decide if such nurses are deployed to less risky sites. Or even restrict the regular movement of caregivers to reduce exposure risks and maintain clinical staffs’ availability.
Protection of nurses’ families
Being on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 can be stressful if a family member is infected. The nurses’ concentration must be 100% to ensure accuracy in testing and care for COVID-19 patients. Therefore, the concerns of caregivers transmitting the virus back to their families from hospitals are crucial. As a result, health caregivers follow protective measures such as separation of living spaces and procedures for infection control immediately after every shift, including removal and washing of clothes in their homes.
Good Leadership and Communication
The long stretch of the COVID-19 crisis can go on for even a year. Therefore, leaders in healthcare institutions need to engage their nurses in addressing their respective concerns. In this case, transparency and effective communication will positively enhance trust between them and an ambiance of control. This will ensure that nurses get sufficient rest and are in a position to attend to their concerns through the organization’s support both as a health professional and an individual.
Above all, the aim is to promote team performance among nurses to avoid carelessness and stress at work, which might increase the risk of infection. Overall, the global crisis has instilled fear among nurses, and most of them are worried about themselves, families, and friends. Despite all these, they are still fighting on the front line to reduce the infection and deaths from COVID-19. Consequently, to ensure consistent control over the pandemic, the nurses in the front line must be protected. Therefore, the above precautions have helped maintain safety from infection of the COVID-19 both healthcare facilities and at home.