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CSU-ALS/ CALS Co-Founder Helps on Frontline Using His ICU Skills

Saturday, March 28, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joel Dunning
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Up until 2 weeks ago I was a CardioThoracic surgeon in this trust but as I write this, I am starting an ICU nursing nightshift looking after ventilated patients covering sickness on the nursing  rota in the cardiac intensive care unit. But I am far from a qualified ICU nurse although I have some distant experience as a registrar coming into our ICU until 2012 when I pretty much stopped spending any time here. So how did I get trained to do this ?  On the 19th of March I paired up with the senior nurse trainer in our ICU for a 12 hour shift and basically did exactly what he said and watched the routine, including taking blood gases, drawing up of propofol and fentanyl, 4 hourly turning of the patient, mouthcare, giving of medications via the NG tube and of course how to look after the ventilator and ET Tube. I was more hinderance than help that day.. and Jim my trainer will agree !! On the 23rd of March I did another 12 hour shift with second trainer and this time I felt much more confident and I would say that I could do 60% of the work required to look after the ventilated patient safely.. although I will admit to wrecking the chart with a few bad mistakes! Then on the 24th of March due to staff shortages I stopped being supernumary and took part in the numbers to keep beds open with Jim looking after the patient next to me, and that went fairly well. Then yesterday I did a fully independent shift looking after a ventilated patient on CPAP with Pressure support who was starting to wean and I felt that went fairly well too. Tonight will be my 3rd nursing shift and they need a 12 hour night shift as we have 20 nurses off due to the coronavirus out of our normal complement of 76. The Trust is planning to increase our provision of ventilated beds from the usual 25 beds to 104 beds in the next 10 days. The predicted peak of the influx to our trust is going to be the Easter Bank holiday weekend. The hospital will during this time have ventilated patients in ICU, in PACU, in HDU and in our theatres – probably 3 patients per theatre, and we don’t currrently have the staff with the skills to care for these patients. There will also be many wards all full of patients with respiratory compromise who will require care from people with some knowledge of how to look after them. I believe that we have 14 days to pair up with skilled people who can teach us the skills to get us safely though the next 2 months. I would encourage everyone to think about where they could be of most use and discuss with their clinical directors or line managers where you would like to go for training in these 14 days before we all don full PPE and training will become more difficult. Thank you for all the leadership and support shown by our ICU and their enthusiasm to provide training to all who are already asking for it, and if I have one piece of advice if you chose to help care for ventilated patients… be prepared for the surprise poo when you roll a patient as I had to learn that the hard way !!


1435 Taylor Wood Rd, Simpsonville, KY
Phone: (540) 383-2817


The Lanterns, Sandy Lane, STAFFS ST5 5DP, UK
Phone (+44)  7515911116


To ensure that cardiac patients receive the best possible care during the worst possible times

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