The Lyfe Magazine recognizes the struggle many of us are facing during this time. We Would like to take a moment each week to recognize someone who is working and helping others during this stressful period.
Each week we want to honor someone, to let the everyone know there are genuine heroes in the world!
This week we honor Patricia Armand!
What is your name?
My name is Patricia Armand.
What is your occupation and how long have you worked in this field?
I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist. I’ve been a nurse anesthetist since 2012 and a registered nurse since 2005.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge so far for me during this epidemic is obtaining the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we need during this epidemic to protect ourselves. PPE demands have gone up exponentially, and the supply is very limited. On top of that is the ongoing price gauging for PPEs. A mask that normally sells for 70 cents each is now $7 each.
On a regular basis prior to the pandemic, if you had a patient with airborne or droplet precautions, you change your PPE after every patient interaction; every time you leave the patient’s room, you change your PPE. Now, we are given 1 N95 mask per day, 1 face shield per day, 1 Tyvek suite per day, and we have yellow disposable gowns available on the unit.
Prior to the pandemic, after each patient interaction, you remove all of that PPE and it is disposed in a trash bin. Now, we are only allowed to dispose of the yellow gown. We wear the same N95 mask, same face shield, same Tyvek suit the whole day going from one patient to the other. There is also the added risk of getting infected every time you remove a dirty PPE and put the same PPE back on. We are human; we have to take a lunch break and use the restroom.
Do you foresee anything good coming from all of this?
A few good things can come out of this. We have all learned a big lesson. I think we will take early action when the next threat comes around. Once the warning signs of the next pandemic are sounded, we can start by increasing the production of PPEs early on; right now we are playing catch up. In the future, we can stockpile PPEs. The hospital should have at least a one month supply of PPEs stored away. The hospital needs to build more areas that can be converted to negative pressure rapidly. We can start manufacturing are own PPEs and drugs in the US instead of relying on other countries for those products.
Do you think life in your field will go back to normal or have things been forever changed? Please explain.
I do not believe that things will go back to normal, the impact of COVID-19 is so tremendous. Social distancing will be around for a long time. All patient screenings will include a COVID-19 section. I think that you will see more healthcare professionals walking around the hospital with a face mask and gloves. I work in anesthesia, and I manage patients’ airways. I am constantly exposed. Moving forward, I will be donning higher quality mask such as the N95 or respiratory devices on a regular basis.
Do you think the lock down is working?
Yes, I think the lock down is working. Without it, the death toll and the number of people infected would be higher. I think we definitely had an impact on bending the curve. But we still have a way to go.
What advice would you give people during this time?
The best advice I can give someone right now is to take care of yourself and your body. Start by eating well; eat healthy well-balanced meals with lots of vegetables, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and drugs; get plenty of sleep and meditate. Take breaks from watching news stories about the pandemic all day long; just watch the news for an 1 hour to get updated then turn it off. That includes social media stories about the pandemic. Hearing about the pandemic all day long can be upsetting and stressful.