NUR 415: Health Care Systems Issues
April 1, 2021
COVID-19 & Personal Beliefs/Values
The possibility of a global pandemic has been a critical issue for many years yet not many countries made requisite plans to protect its citizens in the event of a such a crisis. Even in the face of local outbreaks, it is quite clear today that many countries are not prepared to respond to critical healthcare issues. It is quite stunning that with regard such critical issues, one that is detrimental to any and every life, measures were not taken to protect human lives. In the midst of the technological age, it is quite clear that technological progress is not being utilized to the fullest extent, to garner the greater benefits. Not surprisingly, the current Coronavirus Virus Pandemic is wreaking havoc on human lives worldwide.
Coronaviruses are a group of highly diverse, enveloped, positive‐sense, and single‐stranded RNA viruses. They cause several diseases involving respiratory, enteric, hepatic, and neurological systems with varying severity among humans and animals (He et al., 2020). Having entered the medical profession for sometime now, one of my main concerns was how we would respond to the outbreak of an airborne or a droplet infectious disease. With the emergence of COVID-19, the world as we know it has now completely changed. In a matter of a few months our way of life has changed completely. What has been stunning for me with regards to this virus, is not the fact that it has occurred, but with the horrible consequences that have resulted due to the fact that in an era where we should be prepared to address such an issue, the response has been lacking in so many regards. At the very outset of the pandemic, it was quite stunning to see that simple measures were not instituted to curb a rapid outbreak. With no decisive interventions being implemented, confusion and trepidation reigned. With mass uncertainty everywhere, panic reigned with many not trusting the information that was being presented by local officials and the governing body. Those of us serving on the frontline were placed in a very difficult position having to now institute measures to protect ourselves and those that we provide services to.
In addressing the effects of such an outbreak, it is quite clear that a healthy and effective workforce is needed. One of the primary measures that was of critical importance in combating the outbreak was disinfection. Deep cleaning interventions were instituted as well as well meticulous hand hygiene in all areas. Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) were by members of the infection control team. According to Singhal (2020), the disease is transmitted by inhalation or contact with infected droplets and the incubation period ranges from two to fourteen days. Infection is acquired either by inhalation of these droplets or touching surfaces contaminated by them and then touching the nose, mouth and eyes. Upon entering the system of a human host, the infection causes various symptoms to arise. These symptoms are usually fever, cough, sore throat, breathlessness, fatigue, malaise among others. As it is with the course of many diseases, the replication and response in any individual is based on his/hers immune response. For some, an infection generates a mild response, while in others, usually the elderly and those with comorbidities, it may progress to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multi organ dysfunction. In general, many individuals are asymptomatic exacerbating the spread. Patients can be infectious for as long as the symptoms last and even on clinical recovery. Instituting the AGP protocol provided guidelines to keep our team safe when there was a need to perform procedures that would generate potentially infectious droplets dispersion. In light of the uncertainty and confusion that pervaded, it was commonplace for hear many horror stories affecting those individuals that were compromised with the disease. It was stated among many that COVID-19 patients were not receiving adequate care due to their highly infectious condition and minimal intervention by the medical team in light of fear or other impending circumstances. Our situation was entirely different, more so because of the fact that my unit was temporarily transformed into a COVID unit, we made every effort to provide the best care possible to our patients. This often times called for us to perform AGPs such as bronchoscopies, High-Flow Nasal Cannulas, intubations, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and aerosolized medications. Following these guidelines helped us as frontline practitioners to carry out our duties not only in a safe but also an effective manner addressing the critical needs of our patients. In the middle of daily live saving interventions, it was quite clear that the services that we are providing is not just for a paycheck, but far beyond this is the genuine desire to be fulfill critical human needs.
Instituting Aerosol Generating Procedures is a life saving measure. The impact of this policy has provided a lifeline for the health system. The guidelines provided a sense of safety in light of its development from evidence-based practice. The data collected from places that were ravaged by COVID-19 such as Italy and New York provided essential information on what works and what does not in terms of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe administration of procedures and therapies. The sacrifices that accompanied those early trials paved the way for us to safely carry out our responsibilities to our community.
COVID-19 has changed the entire landscape of the healthcare industry. In spite of the many horror stories that have resulted, and the many unfortunate circumstances are still occurring, it is quite clear that how we practice medicine and are delivering healthcare can never be the same. In light of the inadequate response of those in authority, it is quite clear that those playing leading roles in the healthcare industry must initiate and institute critical measures that will protect all healthcare workers. Having experienced this pandemic first-hand, my personal beliefs and values in my clinical practice have been strengthened and improved to the highest degree. It is now clear more than ever, that healthcare workers perform more than just daily routines, and such individuals are willing to always go above and beyond to provide their patients with the best care possible. It has been very moving to see the various teams show up daily, even in the midst of gave uncertainty, ready and willing to do their due diligence. Even more so, it is heartfelt to know that many individuals fell victim to this virus in the midst of carrying out their duties. I truly belief that this profession is a calling, and such has been exemplified in this circumstance. In reflection, it is quite clear that we not only offer a service but a sacrifice. All healthcare workers deserve the highest regard and should be recognized accordingly. In our hour of greatest need we all stood supreme answering the call when we were needed the most. COVID-19 may have created many horrors, but in its wake, we now realize that those serving on the frontlines are ever willing and able to achieve what is required in the greater good of all humanity.