ICU nurses commended for COVID-19 response

As part of the COVID-19 response, almost 700 nurses were prepared and trained with specialist knowledge and skills required to treat patients, and at the helm of this education process were nurse educators Natalie Vinczer and Gigy Cherian.

After seeing European hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-positive patients, an Expression of Interest was released for staff willing to work within the Intensive Care environment.

Natalie and Gigy rose to the challenge and, in two months, trained 262 nurses who do not usually work in ICU. They also coordinated and delivered the upskilling for the 400-plus ICU nursing team during a critical period in South Australia’s pandemic response.

“These nurses come with different experiences, a very mixed group. They also had a lot of anxiety and needed reassurance but they still put their hand up,” Nurse Educator Gigy said.

 The duo developed a training package involving the skills and principles of care for safe Intensive Care patient management, equipment, workflows and infection control standards.

The pair also coordinated with Nurse Managers to plan logistics around shifts and supervised practice sessions, ensuring the new clinical workforce acclimatised to the intensive care environment and provide safe patient care.

The RAH ICU Education Team has received a CEO/Board Commendation of excellence in Nursing for their exceptional effort in ensuring Central Adelaide was ready to meet anticipated needs.

“It was such an honour to receive the commendation, and for me personally I think it was a real acknowledgment of me as an educator,” Natalie, a Nurse Educator of 17 years, said.

“The challenge was to maintain quality education and to ensure high number of staff came through the program in a short time. We had to be creative. It’s something we had to organise very quickly and respond to the needs.”