COVID-19 preparedness is key: keeping patients, colleagues and visitors safe

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A group of medical practitioners pushing a patient down a hospital corridor in a gurney

Jane Englebright, senior vice president and chief nurse executive for HCA Healthcare, sheds light on coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness efforts. 

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, continues to make news around the world, and hospitals across the country have been preparing for several weeks. For HCA Healthcare, preparing for coronavirus means protecting and supporting our nurses and other colleagues in our hospitals and more than 2,000 sites of care.

HCA Healthcare is closely monitoring COVID-19 in partnership with local and state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At HCA Healthcare, we know that nurses and the entire healthcare team must have the highest level of protection to care for patients and the communities that we serve. The safety of our colleagues is really important to us, and we’re working diligently to ensure the early identification of coronavirus patients, containment and appropriate care measures to prevent the spread within our facilities.

While our caregivers are accustomed to caring for patients with respiratory infections, as we often do during flu season, we have been reinforcing well-established infection prevention protocols and sharing the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes important procedures such as the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment and isolation of patients who may have a respiratory infection.

Last week, our hospitals took a significant proactive measure at our entryways. We began limiting entry points to our hospitals and screening patients and visitors upon entry to determine if they meet certain risk factors for coronavirus, including travel to endemic areas, if they have had close contact with a person who has or had coronavirus, or if they present with a fever, cough and/or lower respiratory symptoms. This helps ensure any potentially symptomatic patient or visitor who arrives can be masked and isolated to protect our colleagues and others.

Other actions taken by our hospitals include:

  • Reinforcing rigorous infection prevention protocols for environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures, prescribed by the CDC
  • Ensuring sufficient supplies of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, protective gowns and eye protection
  • Safeguarding our caregivers – from physicians, nurses and technicians to transport drivers and members of our environmental services and food and nutrition staffs – by providing additional infection prevention training so we can care for our communities while protecting our caregivers

At HCA Healthcare, we have the privilege of providing care during more than 35 million annual patient encounters, and as chief nurse executive, I have the honor of representing and supporting our approximately 98,000 registered nurses across our organization. We’re committed to maintaining a strong, collaborative environment amongst our colleagues to respond to COVID-19 and care for patients who need our help. I’m proud that our caregivers are rising to the occasion because they understand that now, more than ever, their own actions demonstrate the care they have for the safety and wellbeing of others.

HCA Healthcare is one of the largest employers of nurses in the United States and United Kingdom, with approximately 98,000 registered nurses holding positions from bedside caregivers in a variety of healthcare settings to leadership positions throughout the organization. HCA Healthcare is a learning healthcare system that uses its more than 35 million annual patient encounters to improve patient care and save lives.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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