I’ve had a rough morning. This post is full of humble pie. Pull up a seat.
I’m not a medical expert.
I made a recommendation on my blog the other day that cloth surgical masks would be beneficial for nurses on the front lines of COVID 19. This hasn’t been proven. We don’t have data. We don’t know if cloth masks will help.
In fact, cloth masks, if used incorrectly, could carry the virus. It could deteriorate the masks we have. This is too new. The data isn’t there to draw an evidenced based conclusion on how to protect healthcare providers when our standard PPE isn’t available. We don’t know how this virus is spread or how it clings to certain materials.
I want you to know, cloth masks may not be the right choice. I didn’t know that when I made Saturday’s post.
I’ve reviewed some of my recent blog posts and they sound a little bit too much like I’m offering medical advice or recommendations. I’m not going to do that anymore. I don’t want to mislead anyone.
Instead, I will stick to what I do best and what I love: telling my stories and sharing other’s stories. So here are a few stories regarding the PPE crisis:
Nurses have reportedly been asked to share one time use surgical masks. What used to be one time use, nurses are now being asked to use one mask for 12 hours and then pass it on to their next shift.
Nurses have reportedly been told to cut holes in garbage bags to wear over their scrubs because the hospital is out of gowns.
Nurses have reportedly been advised to turn in their one time use PPE to be sterilized at the end of each shift. This also has no data to back up its efficacy.
Nurses are reportedly so thankful for the cloth masks that the community has provided them because without them they have nothing. The hospital has NOTHING.
Hospital administrators across Iowa have BEGGED the general public to sew cloth masks. They have weighed the risk and the benefit and they believe that is their best option: better than nothing.
A recent poll on a popular nursing Instagram account showed 92% of nurses who responded to the poll report that their facility is running out of PPE and FAST.
So those are the stories. That’s what I’ll be sticking to. Don’t come here for evidence based practice. Don’t come here for data and facts.
There’s a reason I prefer teaching on the clinical floor and not the classroom. I teach the practical side of nursing. I’m not good with data and research and numbers. I’m not always good at “by the book.” I’m so thankful for those on my healthcare team that offer the by the book/data driven/book smart point of views.
I’ve also deleted this mornings blog post after several comments accusing me of being “weak” or “too anxious to work” and to “get off my phone and pay attention to my kids” because I’ve “already missed out on so much of their life.”
I don’t have words for you (yet).