Licensed Practical Nurses and Medical Assistants are vital members of the healthcare workforce, particularly during a national crisis such as the current pandemic. As they work on the frontlines, alongside other medical professionals, they are considered essential workers, and may be required to take on an increased workload in caring for patients. Here’s how LPNs and Medical Assistants might help in a health crisis:
Role of Nurses in a Health Crisis
LPNs play a critical role in the care of patients. In addition to basic nursing duties, an LPN will administer medications, collect laboratory samples, maintain patient records, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals in providing care. But during a crisis, your role might expand. You may be asked to:
- Screen for signs of illness
- Follow triage protocols
- Perform CPR
- Direct staff traffic during a Code Blue
- Care for patients on ventilators
- Track patients’ progress and report changes to doctors
It isn’t just the amount of duties that could increase—the amount of patients you care for, and the degree of their illnesses may also increase. That means you might work longer hours and may need to take on extra shifts to assist your team.
Role of Medical Assistants in Health Crisis
As a Medical Assistant, you are likely to be a patient’s first point of contact. Day-to-day, you greet patients and take their vital signs. You also order medical supplies and can serve as the doctor’s assistant during medical exams and procedures. When a crisis occurs, you may need to:
- Manage the use of personal protective equipment, including surgical masks and gloves. Order more when the supply is low and ensure that they are used properly.
- Under new and more intense protocols, prep and sterilize rooms, furniture, equipment, and anything else a patient or doctor may come into contact with.
- Explain important information to patients. This may be the correct process for hand washing, or guidelines for social distancing.
- Report patient information to the CDC.
Important Health and Safety Procedures
After a long day of caring for others, you can’t forget to care for yourself. Your PPE must be properly removed before you leave the healthcare facility, and when you get home, do not enter your home wearing your work shoes, leave them at the facility or in your car, remove your clothes immediately and place them in the laundry bin. Be sure to disinfect all surfaces that you touch. That includes:
- Car keys
- Cell phone and purse
- Car door handle
Most importantly, don’t forget to eat well, drink a lot of water, and get plenty of rest. You don’t want to put yourself at risk while treating others.
LPNs and Medical Assistants are both dedicated professionals who have stepped up during the COVID-19 health crisis. If you want a career helping others and you’re not afraid to be on the frontlines in a national emergency, consider training to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Medical Assistant. Fill out the form to request more information today.