Chris Alcala has demonstrated leadership and dedication to the safety of our staff and Veterans by opening and managing the ICU COVID area.
This was the first of its kind at our hospital. There was no template to follow, little was known about the disease and it's a transmission, and not many staff were willing to volunteer to work in a high-risk area. Chris took this challenge head-on, collaborating with ICU leadership and other multidisciplinary teams to determine the best course of action for implementation.
Chris worked closely with infection control to coordinate education for the ICU Cozone staff and to determine the needed equipment. The team developed signage to place on the patient doors to demonstrate donning of PPE. Inservices were held with the anesthesiology team and the ICU Cozone nurses to ensure safety measures were maintained during the intubation of COVID positive patients. Weekly infection control calls were held to share any updates and to address any concerns. Block scheduling was implemented, and teams were assigned to decrease disease transmission.
Chris also made sure that the safety and dignity of the Veterans were maintained. While assisting with the Veterans who passed away in COVID ICU, Chris noted that there was no flag to drape the patient with for his procession. The ICU had a dedicated flag, but because of infection control issues, it couldn't be used for this area. Chris called voluntary services and explained the issue and asked if they had an alternative. They were able to provide smaller flags for use in the COVID area, thus allowing these patients to be recognized and honored for their service.
As a result of Chris's leadership, the ICU Cozone runs flawlessly. The nurses are now experts in COVID care and serve as resources to other areas of the hospital. Chris still continues to have a weekly COVID call to share updates with staff about infection control, PPE availability, policy changes, etc. The nurses have developed strong bonds with the members of their teams and display a cohesiveness that has been fostered by their leadership. Chris is truly a DAISY Nurse Leader.