March 2020 saw the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, catching everyone by surprise and changing the healthcare landscape in its wake.
The pandemic, and the surges of infected patients it caused, brought one of the most difficult times the Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) healthcare team has ever faced; with staff having to deal with the unique needs of COVID-19 patients and the fear, and anxiety over the risk of acquiring the infection themselves. But with perseverance, a desire to serve and willingness to learn and adapt, the AHMC nurses and clinical staff proved themselves bigger and stronger than the challenges the current global health crisis can bring. Feel free to step into their experiences and inspiring stories:
General Nursing Units: “Mahirap, pero nagtutulong-tulong kami. Kapag napansin ng iba na kailangan ng tulong ng isa, nagkakaisa kami na suportahan at tulungan ang bawat isa.”
Because of the sudden surge of COVID positive patients, the General Nursing Unit (GNU) nurses and clinical staff learned how to be flexible and be pulled out to areas where help is needed. They also learned how to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of their patients and their team, as the infection comes from anywhere, even in designated non-COVID areas.
Work is tough but because of cooperation, teamwork, and resilience, the GNU nursing team proved themselves capable of overcoming the challenges that come with a life-changing pandemic.
General Nursing Unit Hot Zone:
“Sa umpisa nakakatakot. Pero kapag maayos ang mga kasama, kahit toxic ang pasyente, kinakaya naman kasi nagtutulungan din kami. At madami namang mabait at grateful sa ginagawa namin.”
Since March 2020, the Tower 2 nursing units have become the designated COVID-positive and suspected COVID-positive patient areas. It is a challenging task, donning thick and stifling hot layers of protective equipment while attending to their patients’ every need—from administering their medications on time to being a shoulder to cry on—on top of long hours and at times, having to be away from their families. But the Hot Zone nurses soldier on, knowing they have the support of their reliable teammates and the hospital healthcare team as well as the grit of their sworn duty to deliver quality nursing care to all their patients.
Maternal and Child Health :
“Sa unit, feeling safe kami, maingat naman kasi kami, at walang incident na nakakalusot na expired ang swab test result ni patient.” Because of the decrease in their catered patient population, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) ward nurses were pulled out to areas in need of help.
It was a tough and trying time, but the MCH nurses stepped up to the challenges of supporting their nursing peers while adhering to safety protocols such as wearing PPE and ensuring that patients and their guests also adhere to infection control guidelines. By following these guidelines, it made them feel safer while working in the hospital.
“Nandoon po ‘yong takot kasi wala pang gamot o vaccines, pero dahil may sinumpaang tungkulin, na tulungan ang pasyente, nagiging selfless ang mga tao at ginagawa parin namin ‘yong dapat gawin.”
The pandemic took everyone by surprise, and in the Genesis and NICU areas, they experienced catering to COVID-positive mothers and babies. Despite their own worries and fears of getting infected, what drives these nurses to continue their service, though is their commitment to their duty to give quality nursing care to their patients, as well as the reassurance that proper use of PPE and following infection control guidelines can help keep them and their patients safe. And just like with their other fellow nurses, unit teamwork and support go a long way in encouraging their continued commitment.
Asian Cancer Institute:
“Dumarating iyong panahon na nandoon ang kaba, pero pumapasok pa rin kami dahil may sinumpaang tungkulin sa aming mga pasyente.”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all Outpatient units in the hospital were closed. But because the Infusion unit cater to cancer patients with strict therapeutic regimens, AHMC’s Infusion Unit nurses braved the anxiety and uncertainties of the pandemic, adhering to stringent infection prevention and control protocols, to not only ensure the delivery of safe patient care, but also to keep themselves safe and healthy to continue their noble work.
“Hindi naman naalis ang takot, pero nag-iingat na lang kami para hindi mahawaan. Ang mahalaga ay ang pagsunod sa tamang protocols tapos magsabi kung may nararamdaman para matulungan agad.”
But as for ACI units with lesspatient census during the pandemic, the nurses there were pulled out to the units that were still doing vital outpatient procedures, something these nurses took as a valuable learning experience. As with everyone else, the ACI nurses were worried about being exposed, but as time went on, they became confident that, as long as they observe standard safety protocols, they will be able to stay safe. They also advocate for patients and their peers to being honest about their condition, so that they may get the help they need and prevent further spread of the infection.
Asian Ambulatory Care Facility:
“Nakakatakot, nakakaba, pero para sa mga pamilya namin. Pero dahil naturuan kami kung paano ‘di mahawa, na-train naman kami paano magsuot ng PPE nang maayos, alam namin na safe naman kami magtrabaho.” The service of the AACF units continued even during the surge of the pandemic. Aside from the anxiety of being exposed, nurses from these units also experienced pull-outs to other areas due to the surge of COVID-positive patients. The staff braved through these circumstances through using PPE vigilantly, and following infection control standards. The risk of becoming infected is still a source of concern for the staff, but the nursing staff continue to serve for the sake of their patients and those who depend on them. Extra effort and vigilance to infection control standards were observed when interacting with patients or rendering service to Inpatient units.