Khadijah Lyons, RN, BSN, CCRN, CRNA Student
Specialty: ICU. Khadijah has been a nurse for a little over 2 years and is currently a travel nurse in Atlanta on an Adult Medical/Surgical ICU
In general, describe your experience working in the ICU since the COVID-19 outbreak hit America:
It has been organized chaos. Every day is changing. New policies and procedures are coming out by the hour. While on 12-hour shift things are updated or changed at least 2-3 times. We have to be extremely flexible at this time. As of right now, for my health care system, the ICU is 90% full between three major hospitals in Atlanta. Visitation was suspended for all of the hospitals within the healthcare system unless the patient is on comfort care and to die within 24 hours, then the patient is allowed to have visitors.
Have you seen patients less than 35 years old?
Unfortunately, yes, I have seen a 27-year-old otherwise healthy patient being placed on a ventilator this week for respiratory failure and airway protection.
What kind of PPE are you wearing per your hospital’s protocol? Do you feel protected by your PPE? Does the hospital have enough PPE?
Currently at my facility, if your patient is COVID positive, you are required to wear a N-95 mask, protective eyewear, gowns, and double gloves. I feel very protected and I am grateful my facility is taking all the necessary steps to ensure my safety so I can be of service to others. I am saddened this is not the case for millions of nurses around the world. As of right now, I do believe my facility has adequate PPE, but I do not know how long that will last. Things are rapidly changing. We have converted all 22 of our ICU rooms to negative pressure rooms to better contain those infected.
What do you want the world to know about nurses during this pandemic?
I want the world to know that as nurses we are at the front lines, but we too are scared. The future looks grim and uncertain and that is petrifying. I also want our community to take part in curing this pandemic by staying home, practicing good hygiene, and supporting those in the healthcare field. I think for the most part everyone is doing very well and we can all get through this together.