Within the span of two weeks, hospitals in New York City went from normal operations to patients flooding their ICUs—with COVID-19 setting up camp for the next three months.

New York City was soon reporting the highest number of confirmed cases, leaving nursing leaders to wonder how they could respond efficiently and keep up with rising numbers of patients. They turned to their emergency response plans.

During a recent Tipton Health webinar, Courtney Vose, VP and CNO of NewYork–Presbyterian/Columbia/Allen, shared how the hospital’s planning provided a foundation for its response to the pandemic as well as lessons learned from the unprecedented uphill battle against COVID-19. Here are some key takeaways:

Create structure and infrastructures.
Establishing structure is crucial to maintaining a sense of order during an emergency.

  • Create teams that meet every day to make sure all needs are being met across the board. Then ensure the minutes are dispersed to leaders and their teams so that everyone has access to all information.
  • Build additional infrastructures to allow more room for your staff to accommodate the influx of patients—put up tents, convert fieldhouses into field hospitals, etc.

Listen and respond.
The key during any situation is to listen to your teams. How? Always be rounding.

This will keep your leaders up to speed on what their teams are experiencing, what they may need and how they can respond to those needs.

Communicate more.
During the first wave of the pandemic, hospitals everywhere were finding that the important conversations included everyone at every level.

Successful communication plans are key to navigating a pandemic. Here are some ways to adjust your communication plans with your staff:

  • Hold daily virtual briefings for all, including frontline staff.
  • Ensure higher leader visibility on all shifts.
  • Hold daily online meetings with team leaders and include clinical nurses on the call. The goal is to answer specific questions right away.

Encourage recognition.
In a profession dedicated to helping others, it can be difficult to pause and acknowledge all the good being accomplished. Encourage your leaders to give recognition to their teams, and to initiate self-recognition as well. Your staff needs to know their hard work is appreciated, and when they do, they’ll find it a little easier to handle the burdens they face throughout the day.

Learn More from our Speakers

Visit TiptonHealth.com/webinars to hear more on emergency response planning from our speaker Courtney Vose.

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