Meet Amy Rodriguez, a nursing student who is currently on the front lines of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 as a rapid assessment nurse in Long Beach. Although she has faced challenges while adjusting to a new work rhythm, her ability to help others and provide care for incoming patients who need medical attention has been essential during this time.
What is your role at the Rapid Assessment Clinic?
I am one of the volunteers through the Long Beach Medical Reserve Corps participating as a rapid assessment nurse. My role at the clinic has been to assess patients that come into the COVID-19 tent or the other medical tent by taking their vital signs, asking why they are seeking treatment/what their chief complaint is, and details about their health history such as medications they take or any medical conditions they have. Once I do my assessment and take notes, I walk the patient over to the doctor or nurse practitioner and explain to them all the data I gathered. In addition, as I am speaking with patients I am also educating them about infection prevention strategies such as social distancing, frequent hand hygiene, and frequent disinfection of surfaces.
How have your job duties changed since COVID-19?
This opportunity came up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As far as I am aware, the Rapid Assessment Clinic is meant to be a place for members of the community to come if they have general minor health concerns or needs as well as concerns about symptoms related to COVID-19 in order to keep them from going to the emergency department. As hospitals and emergency rooms are becoming more impacted, the clinic serves as a great place to meet patients’ needs without them having to go the hospital.
What are you and/or your organization doing to help address the pandemic?
[An] aspect of the clinic’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic is education. Understandably, a lot of people are afraid and concerned when they begin to have any flu-like symptoms. The clinic serves as a great opportunity for healthcare providers to educate the public based on the most recent data from the CDC as well as provide emotional support for those who are anxious.
What challenges have you faced in your day-to-day job duties? How have you worked to overcome these challenges?
A challenge most people are facing at this time is just the not knowing what to expect. A lot of people are searching for answers and unfortunately, we can only give people what we know. People are looking for a remedy and it can be challenging to not be able to give them a direct solution to their problem. However, I am learning through this experience to give what I can which is compassion, an ear to listen, my time, and my prayers. As a new nurse, I am learning about how health crises are handled and I am witnessing the amazing healthcare providers that are stepping up to help.