Where do you find credible, reliable, up-to-date information when there is so much misinformation online? What resources are available to help nurses have conversations that they never expected or wanted to have with their patients? How can you take care of yourself with the extraordinary stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic?
While many articles focus on where nurses can find freebies, best deals, or COVID-19 education and training, this article will focus on three areas: 1) information resources, 2) communication resources, and 3) self-care resources. The goal is to help you stay current, improve your patient communication and better manage stress.
One challenge during the global pandemic is the constant evolution of new information. It is difficult to keep up. What was helpful in the past may no longer be useful. Two notable resources for credible information are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coronavirus (COVID-19) site and the World Health Organization's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic site.
With this being a novel virus, there may not be exact science to define best practices. Although evidence-based practice (EBP) is critical, many decisions may not follow large, well-designed randomized controlled studies. As a result, clinicians must do what they do know — hand hygiene, respiratory infection transmission and donning personal protective equipment (PPE). EBP rapid guidance reports or rapid reviews are available on various topics, both for patient care and emotional care of professionals. There are specific EBP interventions on moral distress, for example.
The American Nurses Association formed the COVID-19 Resource Center. Many specialty organizations like the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) provide information specific to nurses caring for particular patient populations (e.g., cancer care). The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) provides a comprehensive list of clinical topics and resources (national and international), infographics, podcasts and virtual town hall meetings.
- VITALTalk — This site offers professionals PDFs of coronavirus playbooks in many different languages with exact wording to say to patients in different scenarios. The playbooks include suggestions for how to respond to concerns about infection or how to offer guidance when a patient is not feeling well. They offer one-page guides and videos on difficult COVID-19 conversations and talking maps for contingency and crisis management.
- ELNEC — For years, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has provided best practice guidelines, curricula and training focusing on communication for end-of-life-care through the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC). Now, AACN is offering ELNEC Support for Nurses During COVID-19. Resources range from pediatric to geriatric cases, with communication guides, modules, print materials, and slides.
Nurses are experiencing fear, exhaustion, isolation, emotional trauma and even bullying during this pandemic. Motivated by fear, some grocery stores have banned nurses in scrubs from shopping. Coping during this pandemic is extremely difficult, especially for nurses — whether on the front lines or behind them. Nurses are experiencing unprecedented circumstances that may lead to moral distress or compassion fatigue, which can cause burnout.
Even before the pandemic, 63% of hospital nurses reported burnout. After the outbreak, one survey of over 1,200 nurses from 600 hospitals revealed that three in five nurses are thinking of leaving their jobs due to ongoing stress.
Whether you are a new graduate or a seasoned nurse, you have worked hard to establish your career. Support is available to help you manage both the stress and ongoing ethical dilemmas. Below are three of many resources available to nurses:
- The American Nurses Association provides ethical guidelines for nurses responding to the pandemic and a list of mental health and stress resources.
- ELNEC offers resources and specific lectures to help nurses cope with loss, grief and bereavement in a pandemic as well as self-care strategies to deal with moral distress and compassion fatigue.
- The Johnson & Johnson Institute mental health and well-being site provides information on how nurses can better manage stress, including self-care, guided meditation, and tips to maximize sleep.
The pandemic highlights and elevates what nurses do best — care, improvise, adapt and take charge. Nurses remain steadfast in helping those with the novel coronavirus, even when they don't have all the answers. Many resources are available to help provide critical support: correct information, ways to communicate, and self-care strategies.
Learn more about the University of New Mexico's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:World Health Organization: Novel Coronavirus 2019
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