FAIRBORN — The Wright State University College of Nursing and Health has made a sizeable donation of personal protection equipment (PPE) to several local hospitals operated by Premier Health.
“Wright State University has very close relationships with community partners,” WSU College of Nursing and Health Interim Dean Dr. Debbie Ulrich said. “We work together for the good of the community.”
The donations are on the way to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, the Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, the Miami Valley North Campus in Englewood, the Miami Valley South Campus in Centerville and Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy.
The PPE includes several boxes of surgical masks, gowns, shoe covers, hair covers, fluid-resistant face masks, fluid-resistant surgical masks and gloves. Each item included multiple sizes. Students enrolled in Wright State’s nursing school are currently engaged in distant learning, and will be doing so for at least the remainder of the spring semester, and are not utilizing the PPE.
“It feels good to help, and we know it’s going to a good use,” Ulrich said.
She explained that PPE, which can include items such as face masks, shoe covers, gloves, head covers and more, are used to cover the body to protect healthcare workers from contracting the virus. They must put on new PPE each time they enter a patient’s room, and dispose of the PPE as soon as they exit the patient’s room. Doing so protects healthcare workers from contracting and spreading the virus, and they may be entering and exiting a COVID-19 patient’s room up to 20 times per day.
“With COVID-19, no one knows what this is,” Ulrich said. “It’s not the flu, it’s not pneumonia — we have experience taking care of those patients — we have no idea what this is. We’re now learning about transmission, how it operates and how it’s transmitted. There are a lot of unknowns.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law March 27 that allows prospective nurses to bypass the license examination after meeting other requirements set forth by state nursing schools and passing a criminal background check, allowing nurses to go to work faster than ever before.
Temporary licenses will be issued and valid for 90 days after Dec. 1, 2020 or after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, whichever occurs first. Typically individuals who complete nursing school must undergo a six-week waiting period and take a licensing exam before going to work. Eventually those nurses who start working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will have to take their license exam.
Ulrich shared that Wright State currently has a large class of nursing students that includes 120 individuals.
“They (students) have been taught well. They know the science,” Ulrich said. “They’re well-aware of how to treat people and how to protect themselves.”
Ulrich said before the COVID-19 pandemic took place, there was a nursing shortage and the field was in-demand. However, she said 17 percent of COVID-19 cases are healthcare workers. Therefore, nurses and other healthcare workers will become even more in-demand as the pandemic progresses.
“You go into nursing because you want to help people — no matter what — the students may be afraid, but they’re also excited to help,” Ulrich said.