From A Nurses Mouth: The Truth About The ICU During The Pandemic
Southern California is leading the nation in new and active cases. As of 12/27 more than 2.1 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported to the state. The numbers are concerning for citizens of the state but most concerning for nurses across California.
We had the privilege of speaking to one Nurse who serves in Southern California. In order to protect their identity we wont be revealing their name. Telling the truth comes with consequences and we want to protect our nurses.
We asked our nurse to speak candidly about the current ICU situation in Southern California and what they are experiencing first hand. Here is what they had to say:
“They are over capacity. The ICU is completely full. They have ICU ventilated patients on the regular floor. The normal nurse to patient ratio in the ICU is 2:1, but they are now at 3:1 and plan on going 4:1 sometime next week. Its not physically sustainable to take care of critical patients at 3:1 much less 4:1.”
Nurses are not equipped with the resources they need, and this lack of preparation comes with consequences. Here is a bit more of a graphic detail of the current situation in this Southern California hospital.
“They’re being told that they’re going to double up beds ina room thats intended for one patient only. They have tents outside for the ER because the ER is completely full. Patients are lining the halls of the ER. Their morgue is full and they now have a refrigerated truck outside to store the bodies.
Not one patient is coming out of his ICU alive. If you get intubated you’re dead. There is nothing that is working once the pneumonia sets in.”
This graphic account shows that we are unprepared for this pandemic and its still December. As the colder months of January and February approach some health professionals fear the worst is to come. This has prompted California to set a 10 day quarantine for travelers coming into California.
According to this nurse there are 4 factors that are contributing to nurse shortages to combat the deadly pandemic.
“1.) Sick and infected staff not being able to come in to work.
2.) Burn out. They were working massive overtime to try and fight this fight in the beginning, but there comes a point where their mental health is more important to preserve.
3.) In the beginning, only certain areas were spiking allowing for nurses from other states to come into the hotspots and help out, They’re all now back at their own hospital fighting their spiking numbers and cant travel to us right now.
4.) A nurse isn’t just a nurse, we all have very different training and skills. A new grad has no ability to walk into a regular ICU and just start working with critical patients much less during a pandemic. “
There are serious misinformation campaigns being spread via social media around the nation. Many are stating that this is “just like the flu” and it’s contributing to the mental stress of nurses fighting on the front lines. Truth is, if you care about nurses on the front lines combatting coronavirus in the ICU than its important we all do our best to support them, social distance and wear PPE.