On Nursing in Radiology Now, In the Midst of This COVID-19 Pandemic

Nursing in radiology, the profession that I love, has always been a complex job. Typically, a day's work for a radiology nurse can include consoling a crying child having an IV placed, or listening to a cancer patient, teaching discharge instructions, assisting with an acute code stroke victim in neuro, or giving sedation and pain medication to a patient during a procedure.

What does nursing in radiology feel like now, in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic?

In a time full of uncertainty, what is certain is that our nurses are dedicated to providing care with compassion. We have remained flexible, sacrificing our daily routines in an effort to ensure that our patients will never be without care. We have embraced the many procedural changes required to keep ourselves and our colleagues as safe as possible. We have had to manage the added personal responsibilities for family care, transportation and self-care that social distancing has created.

I know that these times have been stressful for the nurses. There have been times when we have been anxious about caring for the symptomatic patient not knowing if they are COVID- positive or not. There have been times when the protocols and the PPE guidelines seem to be changing every day. There were days when we were worried about one or more co-workers who were sick with respiratory symptoms.

The nurses have put masks and face shields on and rallied together to work in cohorts, learn to pre-screen patients, maintain the flow of daily operations in the department, and provide for patient safety at all times. Some of our nurse have also volunteered for COVID labor, some volunteered for the mission to a New York City hospital during their peak surge. One said, "I want to help in any way I can." Another nurse said, "Tell me what to do, and I will do it". The nurses have stayed strong, resilient and true to the profession.

As we move into the phase of recovery after this crisis, radiology nurses are going to be the glue as we move forward to re-open full imaging services at UCSF Health. The work will be different, but nurses will make more changes to meet new challenges, and continue to be flexible and innovative as we move towards modern nursing in radiology of the future. I am so thankful for the courage, dedication, and support of each of our nurses. We celebrate the gifts that nurses bring to the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging this week, Nursing Week 2020.


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