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Nurses play new roles in COVID-19 surge


May 5, 2022 | Everyday Moments

A nurse provides care to patient in a hospital bed

Team pulls together to respond to delta variant.

In the summer of 2021, the delta variant caused a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence, Ore.

Never before had the hospital been so filled with patients needing acute care. And there was no end in sight as more kept arriving in the emergency department.

The situation called for staff to take on more duties—sometimes different from their usual assignments.

The plan was in place to move patients (who did not have COVID-19) from the ED into the post-acute recovery unit (PACU) if more room was needed.

It was. First one patient, then another, and not long after, a third, were moved into the PACU.

Angie Tucker, RN and Tina Wilkinson, RN, both nurses in the unit, stepped up to the challenge of playing new roles in the pinch.

They knew the ins and outs of their daily work in the recovery room. Their new ED overflow experience taught them much about providing and documenting care for ED patients.

Colleen Lorenz, surgery nurse manager, said Angie and Tina helped each other and the rest of the team—smiling and remaining positive throughout the situation.

After a few hours, one of the patients was able to go home while another was transferred to the inpatient unit. The third patient had been doing well but, after taking a turn for the worse, went back to the ED.

Once their unit was empty, Angie and Tina quickly cleaned each bay, mopped the floors and set things up for the next day’s surgery patients.

Both volunteered to come back and help, if needed—even after working many long hours.

“I could not have been more proud of their dedication to caring for a patient population they normally don't see. They were there to answer the call when it came,” said Lorenz.