TriStar Health - May 17, 2021

As we look back through the past year, our hospital colleagues have been incredibly resilient. They have learned new treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients and adjusted to new infection prevention policies to ensure our patients feel safe and secure when visiting the hospital. We asked some of our bedside nurses to reflect on the lessons learned through caring for some of our most vulnerable COVID-19 patients, and how they made sure each patient felt safe during their visit.

"From the beginning it’s been part of my job to take care of our COVID-19 patients,” says Deepesh, a bedside nurse at one of our TriStar Health hospitals. Deepesh works on a medical/surgical unit that was transformed into a COVID-19 unit during the pandemic. At first, getting used to a “new normal” was a change. “We quickly became used to wearing PPE and masks, and being flexible as we learned more about how to keep patients safe,” he says.

Despite changing information, one constant was making sure every patient was receiving the right care, and that they felt safe during their stay. “Every person, from management to physicians and nurses, addressed things really quickly,” Deepesh says. He was inspired to see how his team worked together to monitor each patient, and their dedicated care also contributed to a feeling of safety throughout the facility. “We were taking vital signs every two hours and catching changes when they happen, so it helped us provide care early and know exactly how to help,” Deepesh adds. No matter what, the patient was always at the forefront of Deepesh’s mind, whether that meant constantly staying at the bedside to monitor oxygen levels or making sure they had the right medicine. “It’s always the patient first,” he says. “It’s my duty to make sure every patient is getting the right care as early as possible.”

As the pandemic has progressed, Deepesh and his team feel they are able to confidently advocate for those who may be feeling COVID-19 symptoms. “I would say get your care as early as possible. We know what to do and how to make it safe for our patients. I’m a community health advisor, and I say the same thing. At the hospital, we have everything we need to keep you safe, and we are here to help,” he says. “Now, we are more prepared emotionally and with the knowledge and ideas to provide care.”

One year later, many things have changed and there is now a feeling of hope. Anxiety is easing among patients and caregivers as vaccines are now widely available, and we have a better understanding of the disease. Deepesh has found that maintaining a positive atmosphere that focuses on providing the right care at exactly the right moment helps instill confidence in his patients. “At the beginning of the pandemic when people were coming to the hospital, the fear was at 90% and the hope was at 10%,” Deepesh says. “Now, it’s the opposite. Hope is at 90% and fear is at 10%. If as a hospital and as a community, we can come to the point of less fear than hope, then we are ready for whatever is ahead."