Northwestern Medicine employees and clinicians have rallied during the COVID-19 pandemic, often pitching in across disciplines and beyond normal workflows to provide safe care. Protecting OR staff at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 was paramount to efforts by a multi-specialty team that formed quickly to develop training videos to teach physicians and nurses how to properly don and doff powered air purifying respirators (PAPR). “The idea of needing PAPR training in the OR as soon as possible came up in a variety of settings,” says General Surgeon and Surgical Director of Northwestern Simulation Eric S. Hungness, MD. He worked with Director of Surgical Services Cord Sturgeon, MD, MS, FACS, to assemble a team, develop a script and begin filming with Marketing support – all in one week.
Surgical Services Nurses Natasa Sapkar, RN, BSN, CNOR and Lois Kim, RN, BSN, served as co-instructors with Dr. Hungness, who, along with Dr. Sturgeon, produced and directed the effort. “The challenge with creating a PAPR video is that different learners, including nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons, have different needs and roles, and we had to address each one,” Dr. Hungness explains.
In addition to the videos, the team developed a checklist for each group to practice in empty ORs to enhance learning. “We tapped nurse educators for input on appropriate language for checklists and principles,” he adds.
"It was a whirlwind of activity and I was nothing short of amazed at everyone's willingness to commit and participate in whatever role was needed to bring this effort to fruition," says Sapkar. Lois Kim was also impressed by the level of teamwork and dedication to help colleagues navigate the pandemic. "This was truly a collaborative, interdisciplinary success! It is extremely encouraging to know that we can pull together in a time of need and work together as a team," she says.
Otolaryngology faculty, residents and fellows who perform high-risk aerosol generating procedures were trained first, followed by anesthesiologists. M. Christine Stock, MD, and M. Sherif Afifi, MD, jumped in to help adjust checklists and provide oversight to anesthesia training. “It was a great team effort. A lot of people from different backgrounds and disciplines — physicians, nursing, leadership and Health Informatics — rallied together to make this happen,” Dr. Hungness says.
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