Nurses Taking Charge

Listen 49:10
Medical personnel work in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan

Medical personnel work in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in New York. At hospitals around the country, nurses, doctors and other health care workers are reckoning with the psychological toll of the virus fight, coupled with fears that the disease could flare anew later this year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Nurses have been a part of every aspect of care with the coronavirus pandemic — taking care of patients, communicating with families, writing health guidelines, spreading public health messages, and even advising public officials as they open or close businesses and schools. This is a reflection of the changing roles of nurses. Today, nurses are highly specialized, they have branched out into new areas of medicine and health care leadership. Still, nurses remain on the front lines of patient care. They communicate with doctors, relay patient wishes, and address family concerns. On this episode, we look into how nursing is changing, and how that’s affecting patient care.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Sexual assault examinations are crucial for criminal prosecutions — but not all ER nurses know how to do them. Reporter Stephanie Marudas heads to one hospital in rural Pennsylvania that’s using technology to connect forensic nurses with expert practitioners who can walk them through the process.
  • Nursing historian Patricia D’Antonio of the University of Pennsylvania discusses nurses’ role in advocating for public health reforms.
  • An average day in the emergency room is never easy, and during a pandemic, the stakes are even higher — with more patients needing critical care. ER nurse and audio producer Kate O’Connell shares what it’s like working on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak in the Transom series “Pandemic ER: Notes From A Nurse In Queens.”
  • When long-time nurse and former hospital CEO Sandra Gomberg got the call to build a coronavirus surge facility at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, she knew she had to step up. We talk with Gomberg about how her background as a nurse helped her lead this effort.

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