Like other frontline healthcare workers, nurses are in the spotlight as the country battles COVID-19.
Nurses have a unique role on the care team, serving as primary caregivers and care coordinators for their patients. All members of the care team are vital, but nurses play a particularly crucial part in guiding their patients to successful health outcomes.
This week, as the United States celebrates National Nurses Week, nurses and other healthcare workers are in the spotlight more than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their bravery and dedication are nothing new, but amidst a public health crisis, the rest of the country owes these frontline workers a tremendous debt of gratitude for risking their lives to treat sick patients every day.
Across the PerfectServe organization, we are lucky to have team members with significant nursing experience to help inform the decisions we make about our products. We asked a few of them to offer some perspective about changes nurses are experiencing during COVID-19, and we hope it will help others to understand just how important this dynamic role is to the healthcare industry in our country.
Julie Mills, RN, BSN, MBA
With 18 years of experience as a nurse, Julie has worked in many capacities sharing her clinical expertise, including in the US Air Force as a Unit Coordinator. Currently, Julie is a Senior Clinical Solutions Executive at PerfectServe, where she serves as a clinical advisor to teams across the company. She also practices at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice in Healthcare Administration degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Heightened Role for Nurses During COVID-19
“I’ve been a nurse for 18 years and currently practice a few days every month at an academic medical center that also serves as the region’s only Level I Trauma Center. COVID-19 brings a heightened sense of awareness to all that we do—checking temps when you walk in the door, wearing masks, and being mindful of supplies. Families aren’t allowed to visit, so they’re calling us more for updates about their loved ones, and the emotional support we provide becomes more critical to the patient.
Nurses have always been the primary patient caregiver at the bedside, but in a crisis, their role is expanded. Without families at the bedside, the nurse is the all day, everyday support system. Beyond providing care, nurses also step up to be the listening ear, the conversationalist and the hand holder. In rapidly changing clinical situations, the nurse’s clinical acumen and intuition are essential to managing care and communications with other team members.”
Mary Piepenbrink, RN, BSN, MBA
With more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Mary has served both as a nurse and a leader in information technology software and service solutions. Currently, she is the Vice President of Sales, Lightning Bolt, where she supports caregivers and helps hospitals and health systems improve their operations, reduce costs, and counteract provider burnout.
Long-Term Effects of an Unprecedented Crisis
“This is unprecedented for most nurses; most do not have experience beyond routine infection prevention standards and practices. Some specialists mask, gown, and glove up when they care for known infectious patients, but typically that is a careful, thoughtful, measured approach. With COVID-19, nurses are doing this in long stretches and seeing patients rapid-fire. Nurses aren't just concerned about the hard mental and physical work caring for patients they they normally do—they are fearful about transmission to other patients, concerned about the health of their coworkers, and of course have enormous stress about bringing the virus home to their families. As they do what they do best—triage, adapt, multitask, worry—I can't but help wonder what effect this will have on our profession long term. I check in on my clinician friends—nurses, doctors, pharmacists—not just where I live, but in other more affected cities, to try and support them by listening and providing encouragement. Many of us feel helpless to do more.”
Mark Denny, BSN
Currently a Clinical Consultant at PerfectServe, Mark assists healthcare organizations as they implement PerfectServe’s Clinical Communication & Collaboration solutions. Mark worked in clinical informatics before transitioning to healthcare IT consulting.
The Unheralded Work of a Nurse
“The presence of a nurse has a critical impact in any clinical setting, but even more so at this time. Right now, nurses are truly practicing the emergency alert responses they are taught and hope to never use. Nurses in general are frequently exposed to pathogens, bugs, volatile patient situations, staff shortages, and endless documentation, all the while going unnoticed for their work on a day to day basis. This crisis has brought to light many of the dangerous situations nurses willingly walk into every day, and they are now receiving the recognition they deserve. My work doesn’t take me to the bedside anymore, but my contributions make it easier for nursing staff to communicate with their co-workers and on-call physicians while making a positive impact on patient care.”
Celebrating National Nurses Week
Telmediq founder Ben Moore, who now serves as PerfectServe’s Chief Product Officer, was drawn to the healthcare industry by an intensely personal experience—an extended hospital stay for his wife and newborn daughter. During this stay, he witnessed firsthand the amazing work that doctors and nurses do every day, and it became the first step of his journey to create technology that helps providers do their jobs better and more efficiently.
In the intervening time, Telmediq has grown to serve customers in all corners of the United States and even joined the PerfectServe family, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our reverence for nurses and all other healthcare workers. This National Nurses Week, we salute all nurses for consistently making the needs of the patient priority number one, and we say thank you for giving us the privilege of serving people in one of the world’s noblest professions.