Michelle Turner '15 BSN, RN, CNOR
Clinical Manager, Ambulatory Surgery
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/DHK, New York City
April 1, 2020
Since cancelling all elective surgeries in mid-March, my department, Perioperative services, has been preparing and training for the influx of COVID-19 vented patients. We have successfully converted our main operating rooms to hold 2-3 patients per room, and we have been renamed as the Respiratory ICU (RICU). There are still plans to expand our ICU capacity into our recovery rooms and other ambulatory surgery space as well. As a manager, I have been working on a lot of different things, basically whatever is needed at the time. I spent a little bit of time in the staffing command center with other perioperative and nursing leaders. Our time was spent organizing resources and strategy. However, as our RICU begins filling with more and more patients, I will be starting to train to be more hands on as an ICU charge person and I will begin my charge shifts next week, working nights.
It has been an extremely challenging and anxiety-filled time for our teams as everyone attempts to “train up.” OR nurses are training to med-surg, and med surg to ICU. OR nurses have a very different skill set than med-surg nurses, and most of my team has actually spent their whole nursing career in the OR with no floor experience—myself included. Not only have we asked them to take on completely new roles, but we also had to change everyone’s schedule with very little notice. We went from working 8-hour days shifts Monday through Friday to staffing an ICU 24/7. While this has not been an easy transition for anyone, I have been blown away by the commitment and dedication to learning on the fly that my team has shown. I am incredibly proud to be their manager, and to be a leader at this hospital. We are not through this yet, but our team will continue to lean on and support each other, and together we will get through this and provide the best care for our patients.