The video starts with a title screen. A maroon and orange gradient aura shifts in the upper right corner of the screen as words appear. They read “The Front Lines: Physician’s Assistant Stuart Brodkin Answers Questions About Working in the Midst of COVID-19” and appear over a short resume blurb. The blurb reads: “Stuart Brodkin: Physician’s Assistant.”
After a few seconds the words pan up the screen as a question fades in from below. The question reads: Can you share some of your background, and what you’ve seen in a healthcare environment regarding COVID-19?
The two environments that I'm working in right now are emergency departments. One is a rural setting in North Dakota where honestly I could speak to [preparation 00:00:30]. They're not really seeing a lot of cases there. The other community is a retirement community in Florida. That community, we're seeing quite a few people under what we call, patients under investigation or a COVID positive patients.
As Stuart talks, words appear on the right side of the screen emphasizing his points. The text only serves to clarify what is being said and does not add any new information that isn’t already present in what Stuart has to say.
You can imagine that that community has the potential to be a hotbed or a hotspot with a lot of nursing homes, acute care facilities, like ALF's or what we call just assisted living. So elderly patient, immuno-compromised, patients over the age of 65. And of those patients that we're seeing, for the most part, being in the front lines, my main role is to screen these patients and to make sure that we're protecting not only the patients themselves but the staff, from exposure.
Well, the nursing staff would certainly be someone that I would to circle and recognize because they're the ones who really are the most vulnerable. Their contact with these potentially positive patients is much more significant than mine as a physician assistant or the physicians themselves.
The treatments, obviously... That's what we're kind of looking at how to manage these patients. But in terms of hands-on, it's your nurses, your respiratory therapists, even your x-ray techs. These are the ones that are having to move the patients and really exposing themselves to the potential of contracting the virus.
A new question appears on the screen reading: “What protective measures can people on the front lines take against this pandemic?”
We've all been assigned respiratory masks or N95 masks. Those are our own, they're using daily. We leave the masks at the hospital, they're using high dose UV exposure to kill the virus and then basically give us these masks back. So basically you just have one mask, eye protection and both of these things we're wearing pretty much throughout the day.
In terms of patients, when you're getting in close proximity, then we'll actually don and doff, like a personal gown that we change out with each patient. So for the most part, that's what our personal protection equipment looks like. There's also some devices that we use that we have to get very close to do an intubation, where we're actually putting a endotracheal tube in. There's a high incidence of people getting exposed to the virus this way, so we have a plexiglass shield basically that we put over the patient. You guys can put your hands through and do the intubation through that, so it's one other way of shielding yourself from potential exposure.
In terms of going home, obviously I undress... My neighbors love me because I come home, I undress right there on the front doorstep and it makes [inaudible 00:03:58] Come in and shower right away. So, that's basically the extent and then, practicing good hygiene and just making sure that I'm just disinfecting the house pretty regularly.
The next question reads: “How do you and your colleagues on the front lines practice self-care?”
Yeah, I mean for the most, part balancing self-care and obviously everybody has a different approach to that. Going for a run, yoga, exercise, I would highly recommend for obviously many different reasons, mental health, as well as boosting your immunity. But, in my case, staying away from social media and just... That only adds to the stress that we already face on the front lines. Outside of that, the rigors of long hours and just getting good rest. So that's basically it and having the ability to check out from time to time and the media, social media, or just your phone in general, just taking some time off, it's really what I... for my own personal sake, find most beneficial.
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