Nurses benefit from upskilled critical care techniques during COVID-19

Westmead Hospital registered nurses Kate Maguire and Jessica Stracciari.

More than 210 nurses in Western Sydney have had Intensive Care Unit (ICU) refresher training to combat COVID-19.

Westmead Hospital recovery department registered nurse Kate Maguire said it was a privilege to take part in the week of ICU training.

“The training focused on ventilation, chest x-rays, pneumonia, different medications and using different lines and pumps for treating people with COVID-19,” Kate said.

“It was such a rewarding experience to be upskilled and be able to work in the ICU and help COVID-19 patients recover from the virus.”

Westmead Hospital registered nurses Jessica Stracciari and Kate Maguire.

The cohort of nursing staff from Western Sydney Local Health District hospitals have received training alongside active ICU nurses at the bedside and in their environment to refresh their knowledge and skills in critical care nursing.

WSLHD nursing and clinical governance executive director Carol Farmer said the staff are versatile and have learnt the fundamentals of working in a busy environment like ICU.

“The addition boost of these skilled nurses enhances our ability to redeploy nursing staff to work across our ICU’s within our hospitals,” Carol said.

“I commend these nurses from Auburn, Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Westmead Hospitals who are taking on extra responsibilities by upskilling their ICU education and training to care for any COVID-19 patients.”

Blacktown Hospital’s clinical nurse educator Nitisha Kumar, registered nurses Samjhana Kunwar and Vinaychandra Tevani.

This announcement is part of a $3 million investment by the NSW Government where more than 1,500 nurses across the state have been upskilled in ICU education and training.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said these registered nurses have been upskilled and are ready to work in any ICU across the state.

“This $3m million initiative has significantly boosted the pool of ICU nurses and we can call upon if we see an increase in COVID-19 patients as we head into winter,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said ICU nurses continue to play a vital role in delivering world-class critical care during the pandemic.

“ICU nurses deliver an extraordinary standard of care all year round to regional and metropolitan communities across NSW, and we need them now more than ever in our fight against COVID-19,” Mr Hazzard said.

Blacktown Hospital’s clinical nurse educator (front) Nitisha Kumar and registered nurse Vinaychandra Tevani.

“The NSW Government has already doubled our ICU capacity to prepare for COVID-19 cases and we’re working towards quadrupling it.  Boosting our clinical workforce in these ICUs is also a critical step in preparation.

“Thanks to the NSW Government’s strategic response to the pandemic we’ve seen a recent decline in cases, but we have to be ready for any escalation of the virus, particularly as we head into winter.”

The NSW Government is delivering $800 million in extra funding for NSW Health to boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment.