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VGH nurses bring COVID-19 nursing information hub to an international community

14/08/2020

Captions:VCH nurses share their knowledge of caring for patients with COVID-19. Clockwise from top left: Kelsey Watts LGH ED, Anna Trowbridge VGH ED, Allan Lai VGH ED/ICU, Sara Tonooka-Chong VGH ED, Jess Donald VGH ED/ICU, and Craig Wursten LGH ED.

Nurses around the world have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Recognizing this was an international disease, nurses at Vancouver General Hospital's (VGH) Emergency Department, wanted to come together with international solutions.

“The nursing community needed a connection and something to pull us together," says Allan Lai, a Registered Nurse with VGH Emergency and Intensive Care. “We wanted to share experiences we've had of treating patients with COVID-19 with nurses around the world."

Allan and his coworkers recruited colleagues from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, New Zealand and Australia to build an international nursing course for nurses caring for patients with COVID-19. The result of these efforts is EPICC- COVID19 — a free, open-source learning resource. The website already has 38,700 page views and almost 700 registered users.

Allan is the managing editor, ensuring up-to-date high quality content to support critical care nursing.  “Most of the core content came from VGH nurses," says Allan. “It's important to us that the information we share is all evidence based and peer reviewed as well as available to nurses who need it the most. We wanted this resource to be accessible anywhere there is an internet connection, without restriction."

The EPICC-COVID19 project includes topics ranging from fundamentals of critical care nursing, ventilator care and transporting patients with COVID-19. The EPICC (Emergency Practice, Interventions, Care - Canada) Nursing Program is Canada's national emergency nursing program and is accredited by the University of Sherbrooke.

“The courses are fully bilingual in English and French, which we thought was important. We didn't want language to be a barrier to providing the best quality care," says Allan. “We wanted to open up a dialogue with an open platform that our peers can add to. Instead of focusing on the science of the disease we are focusing on the quality nursing care therapies that we've always used."

A virtual community of nurses came out of the initiative. The team hosts podcasts and shares information on social media, even using TikTok to train younger nurses.

The team has received positive feedback from participants around the world.

“A nurse in Argentina told me it's so hard to access nursing education, especially right now when a lot of nurse educators have been redeployed to assist with the response," says Allan. “They are thrilled that this education is accessible online at all hours."

Learn more and get involved

The EPICC-COVID19 Project can be found at covid19.epicclearning.ca. While no login is required, there is an option to create an account to track your progress.

If you'd like to get involved with the project, contact Allan at info@epicclearning.ca.

Allan also co-hosts two podcasts Resus Tonight - Critical Care and Emergency Nursing and Viruswatch with Dr. Katie Wiskar, a VCH physician.

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