Nursing faculty and students participating in clinical rotations in the healthcare setting will need to review the following:
- Check the healthcare organization’s policies and guidelines on student rotations. Some organizations may opt for a reduced number of students, students rotating in non-Covid nursing units, or providing care to Covid-19 positive patients in Covid designated units.
- Follow healthcare facility guidelines and higher institution guidelines on infection control, use of personal protective equipment and prevention of transmission of Covid-19.
Some healthcare organizations may opt for providing faculty and students with personal protective equipment. Higher education institutions may also opt to provide both faculty and students with additional personal protective equipment for their assigned rotation.
- Wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility, including breakrooms or other spaces where there might be healthcare personnel or visitors. The Centers for Disease Control recommend cloth face coverings not to be worn instead of a respirator or facemask if more than source control is needed. Respirators with an exhalation valve should not be used as they allow unfiltered exhaled breath to escape.
Wear an N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator, instead of a facemask in aerosol generating procedures (i.e., open suctioning of airways, sputum induction, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, endotracheal intubation and extubation, non-invasive ventilation, bronchoscopy, manual ventilation) and surgical procedures that might pose a higher risk for transmission if the patient has Covid-19.
Nursing faculty and students should consider wearing the same respirator or facemask throughout their entire work shift, instead of intermittently switching back to their cloth face covering. This will help to reduce the number of times the individual may touch their face and self-contaminate in the process.
Nursing faculty and students should remove their respirator or facemask, perform hand hygiene, and put on their cloth face covering when leaving the facility at the end of their shift.
- Wear gloves when there is a possibility of contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids. Dispose of used gloves into a lined trash can and wash hands right away.
- Wear eye protection in addition to their facemask to ensure protection of eyes, nose, and mouth from exposure to respiratory secretions during patient care interactions.
As faculty, it will be critical to self-adhere and have students adhere to these guidelines and measures in the prevention of transmission of the coronavirus. A team-based approach, taking into consideration mitigation of risk, in settings where physical distancing may be limited, will be vital to the success of these measures.
Nursing faculty and students will need to work together and practice these infection control guidelines. Only then, we will be successful in containing the pandemic. To get the students’ buy-in, it will be important to engage them in the conversation on infection control measures. It will be important to determine their perception of these measures.
What are best safe infection control practices in the classroom for faculty and students who engage in the traditional face-to-face option, blended mode, and clinical mode?
Can we deliver optimal content wearing a mask? What are your thoughts?
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2020). Considerations for Covid‐19 preparedness and response in U.S. Schools of Nursing. Retrieved from https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/News/View/ArticleId/24590/AACN-Considerations-COVID19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Use of Masks to Help Slow the Spread of Covid-19. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Centers for Disease Control (2020). Community, Work & School. Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education. Updated May 30, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/index.html
Centers for Disease Control (2020). Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html
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Gardner, L. (2020, March). Covid‐19 has forced higher ed to pivot to online learning. Here are 7 takeaways so far. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Covid‐19‐Has‐Forced‐Higher‐Ed/248297