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Starting Monday, April 6, PPE specialists will be joining nurses, physicians, and others on units caring for COVID-19 patients at UCHealth hospitals in the Pikes Peak region.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital on Friday trained about three dozen health care workers who will transition into the new role of “PPE specialist” – PPE standing for “personal protective equipment.” Many of the employees usually work in surgical areas, but because elective surgeries have been postponed, they will move to other key positions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Training for the crucial positions occurred throughout the day on Friday at UCHealth’s Community Education Center in Colorado Springs.
According to Chris Eastlake, a clinical nurse specialist and one of the instructors for the classes, the specialists will play a very active role in ensuring that frontline staff – nurses, physicians, and others who care for patients – stay safe. The specialists will be instrumental in spotting problems in how PPE is being used, educating caregivers about proper use in real-time, and helping them properly don and doff equipment to avoid any potential exposure.
“Your team members are feeling fatigued, anxious, or stressed. That’s when their guard comes down and people aren’t paying attention to the details of donning and doffing that are so important,” Eastlake said to one group during training. “It’s important to remind staff to slow down and to let us help.”
Some of the responsibilities will include anticipating and planning for risks associated with PPE, participating in daily infection control phone meetings, assisting with the cleaning of shields and other equipment, and ensuring a proper stock of equipment on carts.
The specialists will be available 24/7 on units with COVID-19 patients.
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