Professional Nursing Practice and PPE Super User Team: Ensuring Staff Safety during COVID-19

Melissa Browning, DNP, APRN, CCNS, Kim Ramos, MSN, RN-BC
PPE Super Resource Team
PPE Super User Team

As the pandemic hit RUMC in March 2020, the Professional Nursing Practice (PNP) department in combination with the clinical nurse specialists and educators, began providing personal protective equipment (PPE) training to ensure staff safety.

Shortly after the training started, nurses from NICU, PICU, OR, PACU and 9 Kellogg were looking for redeployment opportunities so we created a PPE super user role.

Initially the PPE super users started as trainers on donning and doffing PPE but the role transitioned into PPE maintenance and assistance with product changes that occurred frequently as we continued to learn more about COVID-19.

With around 40 PPE super users, they were able to do more than PPE training. Additional projects included revising the PPE ordering process, creating social distancing posters and providing gratitude to non-nursing teams.

Nurses worked with Supply Chain to improve the PPE ordering process to ensure availability and appropriate amounts of PPE on units. The revised process limited the roles that could request PPE deliveries to only the charge RN or unit leaders. A log was also created to track orders and deliveries and super users educated nurses on the new process during their daily rounds. Both nurses and Supply Chain felt this was a successful change.

To show other departments gratitude, another subgroup created “thank you” communications, which included writing personal cards to Supply Chain staff and creating posters for EVS called the “sea of gratitude”, where unit staff could write personal messages to acknowledge other team members.

Social distancing in breakrooms and elevators was another issue at the onset of the pandemic. A group of super users worked with marketing and the Rush signage committee to create multiple posters on proper masking and social distancing on elevators and in breakrooms. The new signs were placed throughout the hospital and continued to remain useful months later.

This initiative was a true group effort between the PPE super users and PNP nurses. Nurses from PNP helped support the PPE super users in a resource role, which included covering a PPE Webex team site, answering questions and directing PPE concerns, and providing a daily huddle to support the team working each day.

We feel this was a great initiative for our organization during a difficult time that showed the organizational priority of staff and patient safety.

Their efforts were highlighted in a May 2020 Rush News story. 

PPE Resource Team Helps Keep Staff Safe and Morale Up

As Rush University Medical Center celebrates National Nurses Week, this annual recognition of nurses is more important than ever. Our nurses have made truly heroic efforts to help Rush respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have worked extra hours, pioneered new approaches and ensured patients with COVID-19 are receiving the life-saving care they need.

One group of nurses that deserve recognition and thanks is the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Resource Team, who play a vital role in the safety of staff who provide care for patients with COVID-19.

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