The most challenging day in Covid 19- ICU critical care

31/03/2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living through a world crisis that we have never seen in nearly a hundred years.

The enormous scale of the crisis and the impact it has created had already caused a lot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety across the globe. The frontline workers were always at the risk of contracting the virus, despite which they have served us and took care of millions worldwide. When the pandemic started no one knew about it precisely and we were in the same boat too. All the employees and nurses were timorous and terrified but when we gathered them with respective managers and conducted meetings to explain their duty, they came forward. We had taken the initiatives to train them and counsel them about how they have to take care of the patients in the given scenario.

The acceptance of a situation where we had to stand for one another was the utmost priority which the nurses developed. Those times were so hard as there was no transportation for anyone to go to their homes respectively which was a matter of concern. But, we being nurses were only concerned about our duty and responsibility.

Generally, the ICU care unit had always seen the hardest goodbyes and warmest welcomes, but Covid-19 ICU care units were no less of a greater chore. We were running aisles to get the patients what they needed on time each moment. This reminds me of the most challenging day in the covid ICU critical care unit. This was the time when covid cases peaked up, we were accommodating 40-45 patients all at once. Suddenly, we received a call from the emergency room that there were three patients that had to be admitted as early as possible. We panicked as soon as this news was received. They were on mobile ventilators and they had to come all the way to the hospital.

We had assigned two nurses who took care of these covid patients, as our first priority were always them, we were making arrangements for them for a hassle-free admittance. We received the call about their arrival post at 5 pm in the evening and these critical patients arrived at 7 pm. They were in miserable conditions, one patient was unconscious and the other two had major respiratory problems. I remember how their saturation levels were at 80 and it was terrifying to see three patients at once with such ailments.

The doctors along with nurses were on the duty trying to do whatever we could to bring them to normalcy. As the three of them had different conditions, looking after them was a challenge. The frontline leaders faced great difficulty to get the nurses from normal ICU to covid care unit. Arranging manpower was a task for the assistant nursing superintendent. Even though there were such circumstances the nurses always came front to help the patients which were overwhelming.

Nurses are known for their patience levels and self-composed nature, needless to say, that day we experienced it. The nurses were so composed and patient with those patients who happened to recover in later stages. There was less equipment for them so, we immediately contacted the biomedical engineers to provide us with the necessary equipment. They did a very commendable job in coordinating with us at such times.

There is an on-call list for emergencies where the nurses wait at their respective hostels. If there is any need, they attend as soon as possible. Such arrangements play a major role at times where it is the matter of life and death. Post that day, we have taken good care of the mentioned patients and they recovered pretty well.

This experience has been great learning for the nurses as they have dealt with such situations, they are now ready for anything. They have no fear of treating any patient with any kind of ailments. Currently, we have 12 covid patients admitted and the nursing staff is dealing with them extremely responsibly. As they are competent to handle patients, the nurses are getting opportunities in other countries mainly, the Gulf countries and the UK where they are looking for such skilled manforce.

I am very much proud that after such experiences, our nurses are getting the opportunity to excel in their careers. After the patients recovered, their smiles are what we look up to and feel proud of. Even though time has passed such memories stay with us impacting and leave us with great learnings.

I believe that a pandemic had to come to make the world realise what nurses are capable of doing anything and 2020 was the year for nurses. As the patients struggle for their life, we can handle any situation now as we demonstrate care, team spirit and utmost unity. The most challenging day had been the most memorable one too in the times of covid.

By Rajula Selvakumari

Chief Nursing Officer

Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad

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