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Six Reasons Being An OR Nurse Helps During Coronavirus Pandemics

For the first time ever, America’s homeland has been invaded.  A virus, something smaller than a bacteria, is bringing this great country to its knees.  I have heard it called, “Boomer Remover”. Later I heard it referred to as the “Kung Flu”.  It’s real name is COVID19. A new killer with no vaccine or treatment.

As I watch this coronavirus ravage first China, then Iran, Italy and Spain, I wonder when our leaders will acknowledge the warning signs of societal collapse.  Everyone should take this threat seriously.  

I’m not as worried about myself as much as for the nurses and doctors on the line.  For the X-ray techs, the respiratory techs, home health workers. So many different titles, but all joining together to help during this crisis.  All of these individuals need personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep themselves safe so they can help more patients.  

#sendPPE

If you are hoarding masks, especially N95 type masks, please bring them to a hospital near you.  New York state is already running out of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). If you think one or two boxes of supplies won’t make a difference, think again.  These supplies can be the difference between life and death. #SENDPPE  

Even if you have no symptoms of COVID19 doesn’t mean you can ignore the CDC’s plea to stay in place and stop going out.  This is one of those times that makes it obvious we are all connected. So, remember that, as these uncertain days pass. We are all connected.

Operating room nurses, however, are remarkably skilled at facing uncertainty.  they drop everything and hurry to work, be it 2 am, weekends or holidays. They start a common, relatively easy surgery, but end up running in every direction like an aimless robotic vacuum, while, in reality, with a plan (that always comes together).  Here are six reasons being an OR nurse makes dealing with coronavirus easier.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good. Sometimes good enough is better than perfect.

1. They know how to wash their hands

Operating room nurses are very familiar with washing our hands.  They wash their hands at least 20 times a day, usually more. They know the best lotion to use for overly dry and cracking skin.  they could author one of those, “5 Best Lotions for Severely Chapped Skin”, articles.  

2. OR Nurses know how to use and remove personal protective gear (PPE)

Everyday they put on and remove personal protective gear.  They know how to seal masks and take gloves off. They have suited up for total joints.  That’s right, into that white hazmat looking jumpsuit with hood and air flow. They remove their PPE after every case.  They know how to remove a mask without touching the outside.  

3. They are Used to Wearing Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is something that they wear every day.  Masks can often make people feel claustrophobic or breathless.  Luckily for us, they are already broken in and used to keeping a mask, gloves and goggles on all day.

4. OR nurses know how to keep their hands away from their faces

They are used to having to keep their hands away from their faces for hours at a time.  Sterile people contaminate themselves if they touch their face. Contaminated means they have to remove their current PPE and replace it.  

5. They are used to isolation

They are used to being in a small room with 3 or 4 different people for long periods of time.  The longest I ever worked on 1 case was 26 hours. They are used to being stuck with others. They know to make the best of it.  And, they laugh. Laughter and a sense of humor helps release tension.

6. OR Nurses have mental flexibility

Operating room nurses are used to having everything changed in a second.  They deal with, manage and/or fix problems every day while working. They are able to go full speed ahead, only to find out they need to reverse (now!) and hurry the other way.  But, they always take things in stride.

|A Little Bit of Puppy Love

Take time, with me, to thank the nurses, doctors, and all the other technicians and helpers.  They are going daily to care for the ill, not just the COVID19 ill, but all the ill. During this time of pandemic, please keep them in your prayers. 

I have read reports of doctors in Europe having to decide who lives and who dies.  I hope none of our doctors will need to make this decision.  Please be responsible and follow social distancing recommendations.

I’m going to ask you all again, if you have any masks  or other types of PPE take them to your hospital. We all need to chip in to keep our medical community safe.  The thought of wiping down a mask to reuse is wrong in so many ways. Plus, I find it disgusting.

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