OFFICER’S CORNER – SEPTEMBER, 2020
Days of change. As the dog days of summer, including the hot, humid, long days change to the cooler, fresher days of fall, we have found ourselves in a time of what seems to be continuous change. Today we are not only burning threw the remnants of a hot summer but through a pandemic. This pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), otherwise known as COVID-19 has rocked our world. There are very few things we are doing the same today that we did this time last year. As medical professionals we are having to reshape our world to fit with this pandemic. Changes in staff, supplies, testing, backlogs, are all making today a different day, a day of change.
It is a brave new world - Where do you fit in this brave new world? Are you being brave? Let us admit it - this pandemic is scary. Such a fragile virus to wreak such havoc, affecting so many people in the world in such devastating ways. How can a small innocent virus create so much chaos in this day and age? Well the reality of it is that we encounter new microorganisms daily, some we never even know about, some turn into a pathology that affects people and we learn about it. Most are identified, cures or treatments are enacted, and we move on. We have been doing this for years. So why did a pandemic turn our world upside down? Much like 1918 when the last pandemic hit – this virus caught us unawares, unprepared, and unsupplied. Luckily, unlike 1918, we know more, we have PPEs and know how to use them to protect ourselves. We have policies in place to know how to function in our jobs like hand hygiene, respiratory precautions and other universal precautions. To that end we are in a much better place than 1918, now we just must ride it out and be brave.
Pandemics could be a good thing - We learned a lot from the influenza pandemic of 1918 and we are still living with it today. HIV was not classified as a pandemic, but we had much the same concerns with it as we did influenza and now COVID-19. We had to learn a new way of living, of testing, of taking care of our patients. We did it, and there is confidence we will do it again. Willingness to learn is one of the important attributes in all medical professions. This pandemic has us utilizing this willingness to learn attribute. We are learning and trying to keep up, and maybe stay a step ahead as we research daily the newest news on this virus. What have I noticed that has been good about this pandemic? Medical professionals are looking for answers, reading and learning all they can about this pandemic. In their quest for answers they are learning and sharing their findings for the betterment of themselves and their peers. Professionals are washing their hands more. We are wearing gloves and being careful in the removal of these gloves. We are more aware of the need for PPEs, respiratory precautions, and getting back to correct technique for our safety and the safety of our patients. This pandemic has forced many of us to spend more time with our families whether we like it or not and we may have found this to be a good thing. We have become more creative as to how we spend our time together and apart. So maybe there is a positive to this pandemic, after all.
SAFETY first – During this pandemic please do what CDC recommends for your safety and the safety of others. Wash your hands for 20 seconds and sanitize (should still wash hands after 4 or 5 hand sanitizer uses). Wear your mask when you are at work or out and about and not at home. Protect your eyes to the extent that you can. Practice social distancing even when getting together with family members outside of your house. We, as medical professionals, should be the trend setters - set the example. Be safe. Take care of you so that you can care for others.
Diana Kendrick, RMA, AHI (AMT), RN