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Nurses: The Soldiers in the Battle

Nurses: The Soldiers in the Battle

Senior Director of Pediatric Nurs­ing Dawn Luzetsky understands the stress front-line workers have felt during the pandemic. Her job has been to quell that anxiety wherever she can. When nurses were asked to go to the adult side of the hospital to provide overflow care, they were torn; they wanted to help, but preferred to do it in a familiar location. So Luzetsky and other pediatric administrators lobbied hospital leadership for a new unit within the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) that could handle adults with COVID. In essence, a new team was created; PICU nurses on their home turf work­ing side by side with a medical intensive care unit (MICU) adult intensivist and a MICU nurse consultant to provide top-notch care. “I was so proud of that partnership, because it was truly the voice of the pediatric front line saying, ‘we want to help,’ and leadership heard them,” says Luzetsky.

Just staying employed was another major concern for nurses. Inpatient cases plummeted when the governor banned elective surgeries in March 2020 for two months, and outpatient visits dropped precipitously as well. But between some early retirements and creative scheduling, Luzetsky and Assistant Director of Pediatric Nursing Lisa Fratino have kept nurses working and their paychecks rolling, and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

“The nurses are really the heroes of this pandemic,” says former chief surgical quality officer and otolaryngologist Emily Boss. “I felt like there was no nurse not utilized, redeployed everywhere, such as our testing sites. It was a massive effort on their parts, and so I feel we can’t thank our nurses enough for being the soldiers in this battle.”

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