Caring for COVID-19 Patients: 6 Free Nurse Webinars

6 Free COVID-19 Webinars

By Debra Wood, RN, contributor

Looking for some trustworthy information about working with COVID-19 patients? It’s available at your fingertips, if you know where to look.

The novel coronavirus has disrupted the country and strained the health care system and its professional caregivers. As a nurse, you may not know as much about this new virus as you would like, and can feel bombarded by questionable advice circulating on social media. 

Fortunately, a number of reputable organizations have developed new online training programs, designed to help prepare nurses to care for COVID-19 patients in multiple settings. Some aim to help registered nurses with limited critical care experience prepare to care for critically ill and ventilated patients, when surge staffing has made that necessary. Others cover specific techniques to keep you safe, or advice for navigating difficult communication and caregiving decisions for patients at end of life.

Check out these six free educational nurse webinars to help you be better prepared:

1. COVID-19 Pulmonary, ARDS and Ventilator Resources 

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses 

No contact hours

This 4-hour interactive course helps nurses prepare to work in an ICU setting, caring for coronavirus patients. It includes four units, which provide information about analyzing arterial blood gas results, caring for people with acute respiratory failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), caring for people intubated or on ventilators, troubleshooting ventilators and weaning from ventilation. Key procedures from the AACN manual for managing high-acuity patients have recently been added. Learners are immersed in real-world ICU scenarios, while interactive elements encourage the development of safe and effective practices. Nurse participants must be able to pass a quiz after each section before moving on.

 2. Public Health: Nursing Education and the COVID-19 Pandemic

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

No contact hours

Susan Swider, PhD, PHNA-BC, FAAN, professor at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, talks about the role of public health nurses and shares public health best practices, such as the century-old test and isolate, test and isolate, which she notes the United States did not do aggressively with COVID-19. Swider discusses the current difficulties caused by the number of coronavirus cases and the lack of public health staff for contact tracing. She also highlights the importance of educating nursing students about public health methods. “All nurses need to know public health functions,” Swider said. “If you want to have a larger impact, you need to see that patient in a larger context.”

3. Be Confident Protecting Yourself and Providing the Best Care to Your Patients During this COVID-19 Pandemic 

American Nurses Association & the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

No contact hours

Experts participating in this webinar discuss current epidemiology and best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and conserving personal protective equipment (PPE), such as putting a mask in a paper bag to be reused the next day. The vast majority of nurses in a recent survey said that they are somewhat or very concerned about staying safe at work, according to Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN, vice president for nursing programs at the American Nurses Association. This nurse webinar tries to temper those concerns, with knowledge about how nurses can protect themselves.

4. Optimizing Nursing Staff During a Pandemic 

Association for Nursing Professional Development

1 contact hour

Three nurses from Indiana University Health in Indianapolis explain how they developed a surge staffing plan. The nurses, with support from the organization’s leadership, created a skills lab so nurses can practice critical care skills before stepping into a high-acuity unit. Nurses not currently working in emergency or intensive care settings volunteer to move up to those units. Once they have successfully completed tasks in the skills lab, the nurses spend a day with a preceptor, who will help them and ensure they now have the skills necessary to care for critically ill patients. Nurses must register with the website (at no cost) before accessing the webinar.

5. COVID Goals of Care and Family Phone Goodbyes 

Center to Advance Palliative Care

No contact hours

Anthony Back, MD, a palliative care physician and co-director of the University of Washington Center for Excellence in Palliative Care in Seattle and co-founder of VitalTalk, role plays with a woman, depicting a patient’s family talking with an ill loved one and trying to decide how to direct care for COVID-19 patients, determine goals of care, and how to say goodbye at the end of life. During this pandemic, many patients are dying without family members present, and nurses often are the ones at the bedside as they take their last breaths. Discussing this with family members is difficult. These series of webinars offer guidance for talking about decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

6. Risks and Benefits of Multi-Patient Use of Ventilators

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses 

No contact hours

John J. Gallagher, DNP, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K, TCRN, RRT, a board member at AACN, shares information about placing more than one patient on a single ventilator, during this nurse webinar. Many limitations exist, and he reminded nurses to “first, do no harm.” He said placing more than one patient on the same ventilator is not a good idea due to safety concerns. However, he acknowledged that the practice may be necessary under dire circumstances, when there are no other options. It will require an extra layer of monitoring. 

Once you've got the information you need, you may feel more prepared to help with critical or ongoing health needs. 

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