Hospital training extra employees ahead potential COVID-19 surge


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Since the onset of the coronavirus, hospitals have been preparing to treat positive patients. Now an Evansville hospital is taking extra steps to train additional staff in critical care.

Nurses at Ascension St. Vincent are cross-training prepare for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. Taking nurses and other healthcare workers who aren’t working right now and giving them the knowledge to jump in and lend a hand if the time comes.

Getting ready for the unknown. Hundreds of health care employees at Ascension St. Vincent are taking classes aimed at treating patients with the coronavirus.

“Because we know that the COVID population tends to go to the critical care unit because they’re either okay at home or they’re really sick,” Elizabeth Logan says.

Elizabeth Logan is one of the course instructors. She says this is their way of being proactive in the uncertain time.

“We won’t be scrambling to try and find nurses. We’ve already got them educated. We’re getting them prepared. They’re doing orientation on the floor that way they can get used to our process and our patients and the population that we have now,” Logan explains.

Kristy Overfield is one of the nurses who completed the two day class. She says when the spread of the virus first started she didn’t expect it would result in this.

“We’ve been hearing about COVID since November of last year and everybody, I feel like everybody, just pretty much blew it off,” Kristy Overfield says. “If you would have asked me probably like six weeks ago if I wanted to cross-train to ICU I would have said no.”

Now she’s volunteering to take on this challenge because she knows her co-workers are going to need help.

“It’s just about doing everything that we can to benefit our patients,” Overfield continues.

And Logan says the nurses are going to need the hands.

“The ICU nurses especially, they’re going to be going through quite a bit here lately, and they’re going to need help. So with them allowing us to have this labor pool and training everybody, they’re going to get the help that they need.”

Logan says in the three weeks the classes have been going, they’ve trained more than three hundred people. These are employees who otherwise not be working because of restrictions on some medical procedures.

We reached out to Deaconess to see if they are doing anything similar. We haven’t heard back.

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(This story was originally published on April 16, 2020)

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