University of Nebraska Medical Center
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. The past few months have been the most uncertain and challenging time in our lives, and we are all doing the best to adapt.
In mid-February, Nebraska Medicine quarantined 13 passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in our National Quarantine and Biocontainment Units. The awareness and preparedness for COVID-19 started early among our institution, including focused refresher training on PPE use for all the residents to ensure safety during patient care.
Our department and the residency program reacted to the pandemic with a proactive mindset, including postponing non-urgent outpatient imaging studies and procedures, adopting structured virtual didactics, and altering our reading room layout to follow social distancing guidelines. As COVID-19 cases rapidly climbed nationwide in late March, rotational changes were made based on the waves of teams approach. We divided our residents into two teams: one working in the hospital to fulfill clinical duties, the other working from home to ensure a healthy workforce as a backup. Our schedule was very flexible and gave special considerations to residents who were in need of childcare due to closure of schools and daycares, as well as for family emergencies. In order to facilitate our educational program during these trying times, many online educational resources were made available. Our department always kept our wellness in mind—arranging for snacks and beverages to be brought into the reading room every afternoon, which was something we all looked forward to.
Lack of information can be unsettling in times of uncertainty. To keep us informed, our program sent out timely COVID-19 communications to provide updates and policy changes at both local and national levels, along with wellness resources to help cope with both internal and external stresses.
A silver lining from this pandemic is that it allowed us to pause and appreciate our life, our health, and our families. In the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Look forward to the post-pandemic time, when we shall become stronger.