Normally, I-6 and F5S are the acute stroke/neuro step down units. Mid-March, we had turned F5S into a COVID Medical GPU unit due to the low census of the neuro patients. Staff was transitioning well and adapting to caring for a completely different patient population. We were getting used to the PPE, the precautions, and the influx of patients requiring a different skillset from the nurses.
We were told I-6 would be converted into a Medical ICU for COVID patients. The next day we admitted our first patient. To say the staff was nervous would be an understatement. We now had to care for the sickest patients in the hospital. The nurses on I-6 have stepped up tremendously and I have been in awe at how amazing they are. They have stepped up to the plate every day and cared for these sick patients, all while putting themselves at risk.
We have had to learn to titrate drips, prone patients, and be able to think critically when the patients were crashing, which seems to happen daily. We no longer have the code team take over; we are the code team!
Another big adjustment was the number of codes and death we have seen. On I-6, we don't see too many deaths, and when we do, it's usually been a long time coming. Being a MICU, we have had to deal with patients being "ok" and then not. The staff has not only been accepting of this huge change but have been embracing it. Seeking out learning opportunities and asking questions is how we are not only surviving but thriving. We have had amazing support from RT, giving us tutorials on vents and respiratory care.
The ICU and cath lab nurses sent over here have helped us with drips, proning, and codes. We could not have done it without them. I am so very proud to work with a group of such amazing human beings. They are compassionate, professional, and can literally deal with anything that is thrown their way!