Given the anticipated manpower shortage of hospital staff able to treat those infected with COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, the Health Ministry has asked nursing schools across Israel to step up and train their students in respiratory care.
Answering the call, some 600 third- and fourth-year nursing students from the Jerusalem College of Technology's five campuses were trained within a week. Heeding the urgent request of the ministry's director of nursing, the goal was to train a therapeutic team that can provide treatment to corona patients in need of respiratory support should medical personnel be forced to go into isolation or if there is an extreme influx of patients requiring additional manpower.
In order to prevent more infections within hospitals, the course was conducted online.
"The nursing students at Machon Lev, Mivhar, Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Machon Tal embody the overall spirit of nurses across the country who recognized the challenge of completing training in such a short time frame, but yet, stopped at nothing to help the community at large," said Dr. Haya Raz, head of the nursing school at JCT.
Dr. Haya Raz (Jerusalem College of Technology)
Raz pointed out the need for the urgent addition of manpower since the demand for treating patients with coronavirus is far exceeding what doctors and nurses are currently capable of providing. This is especially true as workers in the health sector are particularly susceptible to the virus. In fact, many health care workers have already been forced into quarantine.
"Doctors and nurses work 12-hour shifts a day as it is. There's only so long they're able to maintain this high level of stress and fatigue before they burn out. This extra help is critical to making sure our healthcare system doesn't collapse," she noted.
This initiative is one example of the health ministry's strategy to contain the spread of coronavirus. While experts don't know how long this pandemic will last, Ehud Davidson, the general manager of Israel's largest health maintenance organization, Clalit Health Services, has warned that minimizing the outbreak of new infections could take up to three months.
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