My name is Danielle and I am a Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant. My story is like many COVID19 has changed all of our daily lives, and has impacted my typical work day greatly.
From the minute I walk in the hospital and get screened, which includes a number of questions about symptoms, travel, and contacts, I am then handed my masks for the day.
Working with PPE
My daily routine has changed, now I begin my shift by putting on my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) because it is assumed that every patient we see in the Emergency Department (ED) has COVID-19.
Getting used to working in full PPE has been a challenge; you get hot, your glasses and goggles fog up or slid down your face, and your head gets itchy from your face shield and scrub cap. Often you’re in the same mask for hours, and your hands are cracked from constantly washing them. The routine of removing everything and washing and sanitizing the equipment at the end of the shift is also time consuming.
Treating Patients in the ED during COVID-19
In the ED we need to care for everyone, and COVID-19 does not stop heart attacks, strokes, broken bones or accidents from happening. We need to be there for everyone, from the sickest COVID patient to the everyday emergencies that continue to occur, and provide the best care to all our patients.
We are also adjusting to the no visitor rule. This is hard on everyone but can be especially hard on elderly patients, and individuals who don’t speak English. These people are scared and can’t have their support system with them. It is even more important now to call families and update them. Sometimes it’s even just having family members on speaker phone in the room, or taking that extra time to get patients water or a warm blanket, and spending more time listening to their concerns and trying to comfort them as much as possible.
I have been overwhelmed by the support from the community, the generosity of the monetary donations or of Personal Protective Equipment or of food and coffee have been amazing.