Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
GI Nurses on Front Line of COVID-19 Fight
“Bravery is not about being fearless; bravery is about doing what you know needs to be done, despite being afraid."
Jason K. Smith, MSN, RN, nurse manager of GI/Bronchoscopy, shares how nurses are helping curb the spread of COVID-19.
Amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the GI/Bronchoscopy Clinic at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center cancelled elective scheduled procedures to reduce the spread of the virus within the hospital.
As nurse manager of the clinic, I was approached by nursing leadership to lend a hand with screening of Veterans, staff, and visitors at facility entrances by asking critical questions about potential exposure to the virus and travel history. This job was and continues to be critical in controlling the spread. But, taking on the responsibility meant my nurses would be on the front lines of virus surveillance.
After discussing the procedures and precautions in place, I went to my staff to ask for volunteers. I explained the challenges of balancing the mission to keep our medical center up and running with the obligation of keeping our Veterans, employees, and their families safe. I let them know it was perfectly normal to feel stressed or anxious about what may be coming in terms of increased demands on our health care system. There was also a brief discussion about obvious concerns like getting sick, schools being out, and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Almost immediately, I saw that my team was ready and eager to step up. The GI/Bronchoscopy Clinic initially sent 10 employees to screen staff and patients. Several others soon joined them to support the collective mission to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
At Houston VA, we are a family. Our family needed us to help them and that’s exactly what we did. Bravery is not about being fearless; bravery is about doing what you know needs to be done, despite being afraid. We are DeBakey VA GI/Bronchoscopy proud.