The nurses on 6 West, like other floors, are used to working long hours. They are, after all, an inpatient unit that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to care for patients who have lymphoma and solid tumors. For them, the past several months have mostly been business as usual, except for one aspect: no visitors were allowed on inpatient floors for the first two months. This absence of family members was very difficult on patients and nurses alike.
As Lem Mogavero, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager, says, “Families are part of the healing process. From a care perspective, you can become that.”
Nurses have become, even more than ever, a surrogate family for our patients. Though, thanks to a recent donation, iPads are available for patients to make video calls, those calls are not a replacement for in-person visits, but “better something than nothing,” says Mogavero.
For the 6 West nurses, COVID-19 has affected them professionally and personally. “We had nurses moving their families out of their homes, so their loved ones would be protected from this highly contagious virus we know so little about,” Mogavero says.
This added layer of protection has been hard on the nurses, but through it all, they keep going. They motivate each other every day by sharing inspirational quotes, by laughing together and relieving stress through pre-shift huddles, where they lift one another up before starting their 13-hour shift.
On the night shift, nurses often do not have the same resources available to them the day shift might have – there are fewer hospitalists, fewer specialists. Things are different at night: when the hospital sleeps, nurses stay awake to ensure their patients have what they need.
In these unprecedented times, communications have changed daily, and care procedures often need updating. Because there is so much new information each day, it’s vital to change gears, frequently and wholeheartedly.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. To read the latest information on Roswell Park’s response and find additional resources, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.Learn More
When research began to indicate that some COVID-19 patients might not show symptoms for several days, Mogavero and his team knew they needed to make a change in procedure. They determined they would need to test all inpatients, some of whom had been transferred from other hospitals, for COVID-19 – not only to protect staff and other patients, but also to determine how to better help all patients. So, over the course of two days, a team of four nurses tested each inpatient. Fortunately, all 21 of those tests came back negative.
It has been evident in the past few months that Roswell Park is filled to the brim with professionals who care deeply for our patients and our cause – and who are willing to make sacrifices to ensure our patients receive the utmost care and compassion