Even nurses who don’t work in critical care might be starting to feel like they have two jobs: one tending to patients and supporting medical staff, the other keeping up with developments on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Though this virus is threatening Georgia, the Southeast, and the whole world and nurses are on the hot seat as care providers, it doesn’t help anyone to get obsessed with the news or dwell on it constantly.
As Psychology Today explained, “If you are anxious about COVID-19, you may find yourself spending a lot of time searching for updates and reassurance. This is usually counterproductive... Limit yourself to checking news stories once a day. Turn off automatic news notifications on your smartphone. Trust that if there is an important development, you will hear about it quickly.”
You can further protect yourself by being very selective about your sources of information regarding coronavirus. Focus only on those that will either help you cope or inform your work as a nurse in the age of COVID-19. That enables you to combat unrealistic fears, your own and those of family members and friends. You can also go to work armed with the knowledge of risks you’re taking, how to prevent contact or surface contamination, and how to talk to patients and co-workers on the topic of COVID-19.
To walk the fine line between getting mired in too much information and not having enough data, keep this handy list of resources at the ready. It tells you where to find the latest news on coronavirus worldwide, in a format you can absorb in about 20 minutes and then move on with your day. It also has tips for safety measures, handling the threat of coronavirus on the home front and a few self-care suggestions that will keep you in the game as chaos inevitably develops.
Here’s the good, the bad and the uplifting:
Coronavirus news and trends
AJC Coronavirus Newsletter: A breakdown of the latest developments in the region
This coverage includes information about the science of coronavirus, including
- Symptoms and treatment
- How isolation is handled in hospitals
- How coronavirus could pass from patients and nurses
- The mortality rate of 1% in the U.S. as of March 20, 2020, and why the elderly and immunosuppressed are most likely to die
- How nurses should handle potential coronavirus sufferers
How many people have coronavirus in Georgia right now and how many Georgians have died? What about in the states where friends and family dwell? The Atlantic has co-developed a tracker of confirmed cases and made the ongoing report available for free as part of its ongoing core coronavirus coverage available online without a subscription. As of 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 20, the publication did caution, “The country still hasn’t tested enough people to discover most cases, experts say.”
Guidelines and precautions
Continuously updated, this CDC tutorial provides answers on topics like admission and discharge of affected patients, the clinical features of COVID-19 and special measures for pregnant healthcare workers who care for COVID-19 patients.
Guidelines on gowns and coveralls and other personal protective equipment, CDC-preferred processes for doffing and donning protective equipment, and links to other safety standards like the American Society for Testing and Materials standards for protective gloves.
Coronavirus on the home front
If you or a family member think you might have contracted COVID-19, this online CDC self-checker will help you evaluate your situation and “make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.”
These recommendations for households whose members have suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus are also handy for nurses who want to sanitize their homes ahead of any threat.
With any luck, this information will stop being necessary as more people learn how staying home in isolation helps halt the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve” so all who will require intensive care (and ventilators) as patients won’t hit the overburdened medical care system at the same time. But for those nurses whose states haven’t required social distancing or whose cities aren’t bound by “shelter in place” ordinances, it’s helpful to have talking points for friends and family who don’t see the need. And fear not, you don’t need an Atlantic subscription for this particular coverage and other key coronavirus articles.
Mental health and self-care tips for nurses coping with coronavirus
Psychology Today: Coping with the Coronavirus with Mindfulness and Compassion
As the author says, “in addition to helping the average person cope with their stress and fear regarding our current pandemic, mindfulness and self-compassion are particularly effective practices for those who have experienced trauma in the past, including former victims of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse who can become ‘triggered’ by this current crisis.”
If you’re overworked or just over worried by the vast changes wrought by the coronavirus in the U.S., taking a little time for gratitude and meditation prompts can help you destress.
They’re snarky, sure, and at least claim to be aimed at the younger generation, but these amusing Tiktoks can take your mind off of the scourge for a few minutes.
AJC Pulse: How nurses can stay calm in chaos
It’s more important than ever to keep a level head, at work as a nurse and on the home front, where so many people are relying on your calm role modeling and advice. This coverage quotes on-the-job nurses with reminders for ways to keep your cool when the world’s gone off kilter.
AJC Pulse: How working as a nurse makes you stronger
Need a reminder that your very profession trains you to get through a crisis, and help others, too? Renew your belief in your own strength by reading these tales and commentary from fellow nurses.
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CONTINUING COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS