Nursing students, nursing schools, school nurses grounded after school closures, and retired nurses are all joining the fight against the rising pandemic.
Here are just a few
examples to be found across the United States:
Belhaven’s School of Nursing are performing community outreach and
educating the public on how to protect themselves and others from the
virus. Students are teaching infection-control techniques, discussed
sanitation practices with the college’s operations team, and have
posted instructions in campus dorms on maintaining safe hygiene.
Senior Rebecca Rylander tells Jackson’s WJTV,
“There is a desperate need for healthcare workers amidst this
pandemic, and I want to help fill that need.”
Long Island, New
At nursing and
medical programs in Long Island, students barred from immediate
contact with patients are playing an active role behind the scenes
and on the front lines. While medical students at the Renaissance
School of Medicine in Stonybrook are conducting online research and
serving patients via telehealth sessions, the Barbara H. Hagan School
of Nursing and Health Sciences tells Newsday
that they have “alumni, graduate students and faculty working in
emergency rooms and testing sites, and undergraduates are working or
volunteering as nursing assistants.”
School nurses have
volunteered at Darien High School’s COVID-19 testing station. Lisa
Grant, a school district nurse at Hindley School, said “We had been
asking our director what we can do to help so when Darien signed up
for a site, we volunteered.” Yvonne Dempsey, of Ox Ridge School was
also ready to help out. Dempsey told the Darien
Times, “As nurses, we put ourselves out there any way we can. I
figured that’s something I can do in my free time with the schools
closed.” She adds, “Testing is the key — testing and isolation
as much as possible is the only way to stop the spread.”
Massachusetts, Caldwell, New Jersey, and elsewhere
In response to calls
from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing faculty
at colleges, universities, and community colleges are rushing to
donate supplies of everything from masks to isolation gowns, to hand
sanitizer. “This is a time when we all need to come together as a
community and work cooperatively to fight this pandemic for the
health and safety of everyone,” MassBay Community College President
David Podell told the Framingham
Source. Jennifer Rhodes, DNP, a faculty member at Caldwell
University’s School of Nursing and Public Health, remarked,
“As a former emergency room nurse, I cannot imagine what they are
experiencing on the front lines right now.”
Retired nurses are
also answering individual states’ call for help. Nebraska
TV spoke to 61-year-old Mary Steiner, a former emergency response
nurse, has volunteered for the Central Nebraska Reserve Core. As she
waits to put to use her training in natural disaster and emergency
preparedness, Mary remarks, “If it’s something that becomes as
serious as what’s going on in New York City right now… They’re
wanting all hands on deck and so regardless of what my workplace
setting has been in the past I know they’re going to be able to use
New York state climbs the steep face of its COVID-19 curve, Gov.
Andrew Cuomo (D) issued
an executive order vastly
widening the scope of practice for some healthcare providers and
absolving physicians of certain risks and responsibilities.
the order’s provisions:
Eliminating physician supervision of physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists, and others
Enabling foreign medical graduates with at least a year of graduate medical education to care for patients
Allowing emergency medical services personnel to operate under the orders of NPs, PAs, and paramedics
Allowing medical students to practice without a clinical affiliation agreement, and lifting 80-hour weekly work limits for residents
Granting providers immunity from civil liability for injury or death
Suspending usual record-keeping requirements
Allowing several types of healthcare professionals — including NPs, PAs, nurses, respiratory therapists, and radiology techs — with licenses in other states to practice in New York. However, physicians were not specifically included in the order, as the Department of Health and Human Services has not yet issued the necessary regulation
Suspending or revoking hospitals’ operating certificates if they don’t halt elective surgeries
order, which remains in place through at least April 22, was met
mostly with applause, though with some hesitation around work-hour
Michael Gibson, MD, of Harvard, called it “stunning in both the
breadth and depth of recommendations” on
Shamim, MD, described it as a “great move,” with the
exception that trainee work hour limits shouldn’t be scrapped: “They
are already working equivalent to 2 [full-time employees] without
Chinese-style PPE. More hours = more risk of exposure,” he
Gianelli, president of Mount Sinai Morningside hospital in New York
City, told MedPage
his team is “grateful to the governor for throwing the
regulations out the window right now. He’s encouraging us and
enabling us to do what we have to do to get through this. It’s the
right thing to do.”
Puskas, MD, chair of cardiovascular surgery at Mount Sinai
Morningside, agreed that the steps are the right ones given that New
York City “hasn’t flattened the curve adequately to avoid a big
wave crashing. We’re really going to feel it in the next 2 or 3
simultaneously with that, we lost a meaningful number of healthcare
providers to home quarantine, then we’d have a shortage not just of
ventilators, but of people to run them and care for patients,”
by Kristina Fiore, Director of Enterprise & Investigative Reporting, MedPage Today
The University at Buffalo (UB) School of Nursing
recently expanded its clinical sites for students, offering improved nursing services
to local Native
American communities and other underserved populations. UB Nursing was also
able to enhance its curriculum thanks to $3.4 million in grant funding from the
US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The HRSA funding
was provided in two grants—an Advanced
Education Nursing grant, which ended in December, and an Advanced Nursing Education
Workforce grant, which will continue through June. The two grants have led to
significant improvements in addressing nursing shortages, both in outreach to
underserved populations and by allowing the School of Nursing to educate more
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.
Linda Paine Hughes, DNP, clinical assistant professor and program director for the two HRSA grants, tells buffalo.edu, “Because of the student’s clinical experiences and didactic education, our students have a better understanding of what they are going to face in practice within rural and underserved settings….Our goal is to provide personalized health care, which is culturally sensitive, safe and effective. As trusted team members, we will help improve access to health care for rural and underserved populations in Western New York and beyond.”
grants have enabled the School of Nursing to expand its presence and establish
new clinical sites. In the past four years, 36 students have completed their
clinical rotations in rural underserved settings. The grants funded two, part-time
psychiatric nurse practitioners and a cultural expert who served as liaison
between the School of Nursing and the Tuscarora Nation Health Center, after the
Tuscarora Nation leaders cited the need for traditional medicine services. The
two nurse practitioners currently stationed at the Tuscarora Nation Health
Center are graduates of UB’s nursing programs.
more about how the University at Buffalo School of Nursing recently expanded
its clinical sites for students, offering improved nursing services to local
Native American communities and other underserved populations, visit here.
Levine is from Dix Hills, NY,
and says she knew she wanted to enlist in the military when she was nine years
old. When her senior year in high school rolled around, Levine decided to defer
college to enroll in the Marine Corps. She soon found herself serving as a
collateral duty inspector for combat jets while deployed to the Middle East.
Levine tells news.stonybrook.edu,
“I had trouble sleeping thinking about the maintenance I oversaw and imagining
the worst possible cases: ‘What if something wasn’t connected right? What if
the wire we repaired doesn’t hold? What if someone gets hurt? Did I make sure
all of the tools were accounted for?’ With time I was able to gain confidence
in myself and quit second-guessing when I know I had triple-checked it multiple
Her military training eventually taught
her discipline and provided her with mental jet fuel: “Being a nurse also
appealed to me but I never thought I could do that because I struggled in the
sciences. The military made me realize that what they say about mind over
matter is true. I know now I can do it.”
After finishing her undergraduate
degree, Levine eventually wants to become a nurse anesthetist and work for
Doctors Without Borders. She feels she is aptly equipped to provide care and
training to victims of war in the Middle East once she’s received the proper
nursing training. She’s also trying to learn Russian and French, the two languages
required to be accepted into Doctors Without Borders.
To learn more about Tori Levine, a US
Marine veteran and current nursing student at Stony Brook University who wants
to become a nurse anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders, visit here.
Taylor is one of 100 new members of
the National Academy of Medicine, one of the most respected achievements in the
health field. Recipients will be employed or funded by a department or agency
in hopes of making discoveries that will advance US society.
Taylor’s research is focused
on how social factors contribute to health disparities among minorities. Her
research on how environmental factors can affect blood pressure among black
people has been especially noted.
Taylor tells nyunews.com, “It is a great honor being the only faculty member in the College of Nursing to receive this. The National Academy of Medicine is known for their body of brilliant experts in the field.”
This is not Taylor’s first
major achievement. She was also awarded the Presidential
Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by Barack Obama in 2017.
To learn more about NYU Nursing
professor Jacquelyn Taylor’s appointment to the National Academy of Medicine for
her work in health disparities research, visit here.
In early 2016, Mt. Sinai Hospital* approached the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) to propose that VNSNY offer home care services to post-operative transgender patients. This was the genesis of VNSNY’s Gender Affirmation Program (known as GAP), which to date has provided home care to over 400 transgender patients. *a strategic partner of VNSNY
DailyNurse recently interviewed Shannon Whittington, RN MSN PCC C-LGBT Health, the Clinical Director of GAP at VNSNY. We asked her about the nature of gender affirmation treatment, the home nursing care that VNSNY provides, and the outstanding LGBT-friendly services that VNSNY offers to patients across the Tri-State New York area.
What is gender affirmation surgery (GAS)?
A surgical procedure that creates or removes body
parts that align with the patients’ gender expression. E.g. vaginoplasty,
phalloplasty, metoidioplasty, facial feminization, breast
Is this the same thing as “sex-change surgery?”
SW: It is the same thing but we don’t use the terms “sex-change
Gender Affirmation or Gender Confirming surgeries are the correct terms now. Understanding that this is a linguistically fluid language, words and meanings are always changing and we need to be mindful of correct terminology.
What are the components of the VNSNY Gender Affirmation Program?
The program emphasizes home care following surgery from other providers. I train clinicians (nurses, social workers, physical
therapists, home health aides, speech and occupational therapists) in cultural
sensitivity as it particularly relates to transgender patients. The training is extensive and they are also
educated in how to teach the patients to care for their new or altered body
parts (i.e. penis, vagina, breast, face)
DN: How did you come to specialize in the treatment of Gender Affirmation surgery patients?
SW: Fortunately, I was chosen for this project by my
manager. I had no idea what I was saying
yes to but this has literally changed the trajectory of my career path. I discovered a passion that I did not know I
What sorts of clinical training do nurses in the program need to take care of
GAS post-surgery patients?
They need to know what to assess for and what is
normal and what is not. They learn about
vaginal dilation because the patients who undergo vaginoplasty must do this on
a regular basis. Patients come home with VACs, JP drains, foleys and supra
pubic catheters. Although the nurses are already familiar with these devices,
they need to teach the patients how to manage them. The clinicians are also
trained in social determinants of health for this cohort.
DN: What sorts of cultural issues do nurses need to learn about before tending to a GAS patient?
SW: We really need to understand that these patients, like all
of our patients, are patients first who happen to be transgender. We must
respect their chosen names, their pronouns and their gender expression. We
focus on getting them better and integrated back into society. It’s a beautiful
thing to witness and an honor to be associated in such a transitional journey.
DN: How does the Gender Affirmation Program reflect the larger VNSNY commitment to LGBT patients?
It reflects our commitment to this population on an
agency wide basis. What is great is that
we are now getting non-operative transgender patients who are seeking home care
services for reasons other than gender affirming surgeries. They feel safe here and seek care outside of
gender affirming surgeries.
We are initiating various ways to continue to be inclusive along
the binary spectrum by hiring gender non-confirming and non-binary individuals.
These individuals have a lot to offer and need to be the best expressions of
themselves in their work environment just like the heteronormative society we
all live in.
And can you tell us something about the SAGE training in your organization?
All divisions of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York have been awarded Platinum
certification (the highest level possible) from SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to
improving the lives of LGBT older people.
than 80 percent or more of VNSNY’s clinical and other staff have received SAGE Care LGBT cultural competency
training, further establishing VNSNY as a
preferred health care provider for New York City’s LGBT residents.
SAGE training is designed to increase awareness among VNSNY clinical and
administrative staff of cultural issues and sensitivities around sexual
orientation and gender identification, so as to ensure a welcoming and
respectful health care environment for all individuals within the LGBTQ
Among other things, the training stresses the importance of approaching each patient in a non-judgmental fashion and never making assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation or family structure. We want every patient to feel they can be totally open about who they are with every member of our GAP team who walks through their door.
Coming in March 2020!
Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health
The mission of Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health is to bring together state-of-the-art cross-disciplinary scholarship which seeks to enhance the health and well-being of sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals at the population level with an eye to the intersectional identities that SGM people possess.
We are interested in papers that advance education, policies, laws, and approaches to enhance SGM care and SGM health.