It's an overwhelming and busy time for every one—especially for our cardiovascular professionals who are doing their best to provide high quality care as hospital resources are diverted to containing the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals, we reached out to some of our fellows and leaders to offer insight into how COVID-19 is affecting work for cardiovascular professionals, how different organizations are handling the crisis, and what the future holds for cardiovascular professionals.
If you'd like to know about ACVP's own response to COVID-19, you can find that here.
We are particularly thankful to new fellow Jeff Richards, MBA, RCIS, FACVP, who made the time to provide us with the following, detailed response to kick off discussion among our entire network about how COVID-19 is affecting work for cardiovascular professionals.
If you have a spare moment, please tell us how COVID-19 is affecting your work!
As an RCIS in a very busy Cath Lab, my workflow has changed dramatically. Our lab went from doing twenty-five to thirty cases a day to less than five procedures. The Cardiology team has been diligently working to comb through patients and are only bringing to the lab individuals who are deemed urgent or emergent. The cardiac team is relying more heavily on coronary CTA than they may have in the past as it is generally quicker and exposes fewer staff members. That being said, we are still conducting outpatient, endomyocardial biopsies for post cardiac transplant patients as timely medication adjustments in the event of rejection are still crucial.
Our staffing model has changed drastically as well over the past few weeks. We are only bringing in one to two teams and are letting staff go home as quickly as possible throughout the shift. In the past, we have generally worked on three person teams consisting of a combination of nurses and technologists. Our workflow typically has one nurse sedating and one or two technologists driving the table and circulating. However, with our goal of reducing exposure, we have dropped the in-room team down to one nurse and one technologist, with a third team member outside the room to aid in fetching products, imaging consoles, and anything that may be outside of the procedure room.