Administrators ‘in awe’ of how nurses perform during coronavirus

Jayne Gmeiner is the chief nursing officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital, and she is pictured leading the hospital’s incident command center, which is a group of employees who are crisis trained to lead internal and external efforts related to COVID-19, including operations, logistics, communications (staff and media) and more. Gmeiner, along with Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer, led the incident command center for 50 days due to COVID-19.
Jayne Gmeiner is the chief nursing officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital, and she is pictured leading the hospital’s incident command center, which is a group of employees who are crisis trained to lead internal and external efforts related to COVID-19, including operations, logistics, communications (staff and media) and more. Gmeiner, along with Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer, led the incident command center for 50 days due to COVID-19.

Jayne Gmeiner said she is “in awe” of the nursing team at Dayton Children’s Hospital and all of the professionals and support teams that have partnered with the nursing team during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Each team member comes in every shift to face this invisible war,” said Gmeiner, chief nursing officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “Nurses and care team members regionally, nationally and internationally have been faced with a virus that you can’t see that has changed some of our practice based on CDC guidelines and reinforced all the principles of infection control we have ever learned.”

This week is National Nurses Week and the Dayton Daily News is spotlighting the work of area nurses.

COVID-19 has demonstrated that nurses are able to use an abundance of acquired skills to help combat the pandemic. Long before anyone had heard of COVID-19, the World Health Organization declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic around the world, the role of the nurse in global health care has never been more critical.

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Gmeiner said the hospital’s nursing team has been open to learning and being agile as its practice guidelines are redefined.

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“That agility in this crisis is so very respected and appreciated. We have had over 55 RN’s and team members step up into the role of ‘Doff-icer,’ which is the individual we hold accountable to be a unit coach to cross check our donning and doffing processes for applying and removing personal protection equipment (PPE),” Gmeiner explained. “In fact, today we had a swearing in program and provided a badge to those individuals to formally thank them for supporting their peers with active coaching.”

Since 2020 is the Year of the Nurse in honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, who was key to developing evidenced based nursing practice, Gmeiner added that Nightengale would be very proud of how the nursing teams across the world are rallying under such surreal circumstances caused by the coronavirus.

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Tami Wiggins is the hospital’s senior director of Emergency Services and On-Demand Access and she calls medicine an ever evolving science.

“This impacts the nurses role and function through the years. The way we practice nursing now is very different than when Florence started practicing,” Wiggins said. “I have been at Dayton Children’s for 30 years today and nursing is very different from when I started here. What changes over time is how we perform some of our tasks.”

Wiggins says the one thing that remains constant no matter what is the core role of a nurse, and that she notes, will never change.

“You are a nurse because you care about the well-being of others, are a passionate person and have a strong desire to help others and you advocate for what is best for your patient and their family,” Wiggins said. “As nurses we are very flexible and have to adapt to ever changing conditions in our patients, so I feel that nurses will be able to adapt to whatever the future looks like. While the way we do things may change our compassion for the job never will.”

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Tracey Behm, director of Nursing, at the Widows Home of Dayton, says the nurses at the facility are a dedicated group of individuals that are very serious about the care delivered to residents.

“They have been instrumental to our residents well-being. Although we could never replace family, we can make them feel as close to home as possible ,” Behm said. “There is still lots of laughter and many prayers. Nearly all of our nurses are moms and dads of school age children and have managed to handle schooling their children without compromising their job as a nurse.”

Being under a strict quarantine at a nursing facility is a challenge, but nurses have there have managed to think outside of the box to make every resident feel welcomed and stay safe.

“Our nurses quickly adapted to the ‘new normal,’” Behm said. “We all feel there’s no room for error. This is why we became nurses, to protect our residents and be part of healing the sick. We will get through this and will learn from it.”

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Garrett Aini is a recent College of Nursing graduate from the University of Cincinnati and he is beginning his nursing career in the midst of the global pandemic.

Aini says his experience at UC and in the College of Nursing’s co-op program — a one-on-one, paid mentorship opportunity in a clinical environment — have prepared him for what’s next. Aini’s co-op gave him the opportunity to experience real-world nursing at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) emergency department.

“I was able to put my clinical skills and judgment to the test while further developing myself in so many other areas,” he said. “My time working at UCMC, a level I trauma center, allowed me to witness, learn and do so much. These skills will be put to good use as I progress in my nursing career, especially given the current situation.”

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