April 24, 2020

Better than N95s?

When told by the CDC that, due to the N95 shortage, nurses might have to resort to using alternative modes of protection, Tommye Austin, the chief executive nurse at University Health System, said that "rather than using a bandanna or a handkerchief," she "decided to look at creating [her] own N95.” Austin developed a mask that filters more effectively than standard N95s. The two high-quality materials she's using to create her masks have filtration rates of 99.5% and 97.8%, respectively (a notable increase from the 95% filtered out by a standard N95 mask). Austin hopes to put together at least 6,500 more masks, each one able to be used twice if properly cleaned and cared for. Read more

Why are we still using N95s anyway? —

With the continued shortage of N95s, the widely adopted solution has been less than ideal: makeshift masks to provide any protection we can get. Turns out we may not need or want N95s anyway. The Texas Center for Infectious Disease (TCID), which mainly treats TB patients, supplies its staff with an elastomeric respirator made of cleanable and durable plastic called a North 7700. They're more effective than N95s (filtering 99.97% of particles), and they can be disinfected and reused for much longer periods of time (think: the same way you own a stethoscope, you'd own a mask). Read more

Protect your hair, protect your health —

While face masks remain the most crucial part of PPE, many nurses on the frontlines are coming to terms with another potential set of fomites: hair and hairlines. Doctors, nurses, and other frontline responders quickly realized that surgical caps do not provide the same reassurance during a 12-hour shift as they do during a two-hour surgery. Those with longer hair or bangs have come to rely on headbands to keep their hair out of their face and away from possible contamination. Cue the case for an additional component of PPE: protective headbands. Read more

No hands, no PPE, no problem —

Norfarrah Syahirah Shaari was born without arms, but when COVID-19 threatened her community, she still found a way to do her part. She's always relied on her feet to perform daily tasks, so when it came to helping frontline responders by making additional PPE, she began sewing hospital gowns with her feet. Norfarrah is a true testament that no matter your current situation, there's always something you can do. Read more

28 days and nights —

40 employees at the Brasken American manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania volunteered to live at the plant for 28 days in order to work 12-hour shifts to produce the necessary amounts of polypropylene needed to make PPE gear for frontline responders. Brasken supplied its workers with all the amenities needed to sacrifice the time away from their families for the health of everyone involved in combating the COVID-19 crisis. After nearly a month of hard work, they've finally clocked out and returned home to their families. Thank you to everyone out there who has chosen to #stepupnotback! Read more

When California isn't the model citizen —

Sonia Luckey, a California NP certified in both family and psychiatric medicine with 26 years of experience, has to refer patients elsewhere for mental health. Why? The physician who oversees her is an internist, not a psychiatrist, which limits how she can use her psychiatry training. So far, 17 states have joined the existing 28 to lift or modify supervisory practice restrictions on NPs as a response to the dire need for clinicians. But the 10% of the NPs in the U.S. who practice in CA are still restricted by physician supervision. Despite their own certifications, NPs are limited in the types of care they can provide depending on the type of physician who oversees them, ultimately limiting the care available to patients. Read more

Clockin' Out ✌

Day 1 of Quarantine: "I'm going to meditate and do bodyweight exercises every day."

Day 40 of Quarantine: *Just pours the ice cream into the pasta.* 🍝🍦