What's Changed in Nursing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is changing the roles of RNs

By Lee Soren, contributor

While many Americans are staying home and sheltering in place to minimize the spread of the virus, COVID-19 nurses are still needed in 2020.  The dedicated nurses who take on these jobs have a prominent role in the war against COVID-19, often putting their own health at risk to care for critically ill patients. It's a crisis that is pushing medical facilities to their limits and changing the way nurses must work. Keep reading to learn more about the evolving nursing landscape and the shifting role of nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changing medical landscape

In the face of this epic health crisis, the medical landscape has changed considerably. Even during the best of times, the nursing profession requires adaptability, compassion and stamina, but under the shadow of this novel coronavirus, nurses are coping with so much more. In addition, RNs are being asked to take on new and challenging roles such as the ones listed here.

Critical care nurse

With hospitals experiencing an influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients, nurses of all specialties are transforming into critical care nurses. No matter their specialty, nurses involved in the treatment of individuals with COVID-19 need to be able to quickly cross-train in ICU procedures, learning the ins and outs of caring for patients on ventilators and other oxygen-delivery systems. To support this effort, organizations such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses are offering eLearning courses to help RNs get up to speed on these life-saving procedures.

Medical detective

It isn't only researchers who are adding to the pool of knowledge about COVID-19. As we strive to learn more about this novel coronavirus and discover potentially life-saving treatments, nurses are playing the roles of medical detectives. As the healthcare providers that are often closest to the patients, nurses are in an ideal position to study symptoms, watch for patterns and partner with physicians so that patients receive treatments that will lead to the best possible outcomes.

Perhaps more importantly, nurses are sharing their insights and discoveries through professional and social networks, hoping to help provide more effective treatment options for patients around the globe and to give researchers the benefit of their on-the-job experiences.

Telemedicine provider

A technology that recently existed only on the fringe of medicine, telemedicine is now forming the foundation of many medical practices. Accordingly, nurses are being thrust into a world of video chatting and other new technology that may not be familiar or comfortable, but which could become the new norm in a post-COVID-19 world.

Safety enforcer

This is a crucial time for ensuring the safety of patients and hospital staff and preventing the spread of the disease, and nurses may need to enforce a facility's coronavirus policies. According to CDC guidelines, that may involve distributing face coverings, asking symptomatic but stable patients to wait outside and keeping treatment areas disinfected.

Although much has changed in the world of nursing, one thing hasn't: the urgent call for travel RNs.  There are thousands of travel nursing assignments available, start your search today! 




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