On my first night on call as an intern, there was a deep pit in my stomach, a constant state of fear of what’s to come. My training up that point felt moot. It was hard to feel like I was truly prepared for what was to come. I was checking the pager constantly, hoping for false alarms, and constantly afraid of what I might find when I explored further. Every moment know feels like a constant state of that first night. That hollowness and fear inside persists without being at the bedside much anymore. Currently, I work part time in the hospital, though I await the call on any day. Currently, our hospital has no COVID-19 cases that I’m aware of, but that will change. Soon. I want to be ready.
Each day, I’m drowning in news and stories about COVID-19. Trying to understand the avalanche of information that changes by the moment. For those already in the midst, the challenges are real. For the rest of the frontline workers, it’s coming. I’m so thankful for our colleagues at the frontlines. The information sharing is constant and important. Every day, every hour, brings more news to share with our colleagues. We all need to stay at the ready and help our hospitals be prepared, ready to pivot at any moment.
The difference between my first night on call and now is vast. A night of a few patients, a lot of self-doubt and worry, concerned about my preparedness. Now, that pit anchors to the world, our local communities, our hospitals, our colleagues. The sensation is the same.
I overcame that feeling 20 years ago with preparedness and the realization I was never truly alone. I had my resident, my attending, students, nurses, and staff to rely on. I always had that supportive community. We still have that community, that is at the ready to be sure we all know what’s here and what’s to come.
SHM has put together a lot of great resources here. A recent #JHMChat on Twitter garnered a lot of stories, questions and answers, and you can read the transcript here. HMX is proving a useful forum as well. An SHM webinar today, Friday, March 20, at 2 p.m. with Dr. Ruby Sahoo, will provide more information from colleagues at work on COVID-19 now.
But we need more NEW resources each day, given the changing nature of COVID-19 and the response of our healthcare system. Many of you are knee deep in what’s the start of a long journey. The lessons are being learned by the day, the hour, the minute. How can we help our hospitals and hospitalists colleagues be more prepared?
Let us know about testing, PPEs, triaging, staffing, tele-hospitalists, discharges, protocols, transfers, capacity, surges, daily coping, and more.
We need sites that aren’t seeing patients yet to begin understanding what’s been done by others. For in our planning, in our preparedness, we can begin to tame the beast at our shores.
Share your stories to place on The Hospital Leader blog. Email SHM’s staff blog liaison, Brett Radler, at [email protected].
Also, share them on Twitter using the hashtag #SHMCOVID19.
If you are already posting on social media, we may reach out to repackage your stories on the blog. Or, we may ask for more information with the hopes of helping others on the front lines of this outbreak or those who are soon to be on the front lines.
It is in times like these when every voice, every story and every lesson counts. Please consider sharing your experience with us and the broader hospital medicine community. Together, we can help each other, our patients and our society through this pandemic.
In search of other resources?
Here are some additional COVID-19 RESOURCES I’m using daily: