AN upskilled, specialised workforce of health care professionals is ready to deploy if Mildura gets a spike in COVID-19 cases.
More than 50 nurses from Mildura Base Hospital have undertaken intensive online training in their own time to prepare them for working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) during a COVID-19 outbreak.
They will support the existing 35 permanent staff in ICU, as workforce demands are expected to dramatically increase if COVID-19 cases emerge locally.
“If we are caring for a patient with COVID-19 who is on a ventilator, it’s one-on-one care, and that can have a big impact on our workforce, so we need additional nurses who are trained and ready to step up,” explained Nurse Unit Manager Sue Hale.
“It was a terrific response to see 50 people from the organisation take the opportunity to upskill, especially as the training was quite intensive, with some modules taking 40 hours to complete.”
The online training was made available free of charge by the Department of Health as part of the COVID-19 response.
To complement the online training, Mildura Base Hospital is now providing orientation and practical skills sessions to ensure the nurses who have completed the theoretical training have the chance to spend some time in ICU.
“This specialised training has been completed in a condensed timeframe, so this hand-on experience is really valuable,” Ms Hale said.
Eight of the nurses to complete the training undertook the orientation and skills training in ICU earlier this week.
The general ward orientation was an opportunity for the nurses to learn where things are kept, how specialised pathology tests are performed, how to utilise technical medical equipment used in ICU, and how to access information resources.
The practical skills training involved learning how to set up respiratory equipment and ventilators, and how to care for people with COVID-19.
“By upskilling through this training, these nurses are taking positive action to help us, as a community, be prepared for further cases of COVID-19,” Ms Hale said.
“As a regional area, we don’t have agency services to call on to back up our workforce in times of high demand, so their commitment to this training is invaluable.”