It is important to understand the overall effect of COVID-19 on healthcare systems and the role of nurses within these conditions. Healthcare systems are experiencing high levels of the overflow of patients who need medical aid due to the lack of effective vaccines. These measures are primarily provided by nursing specialists, who need to adjust to the current realities of scarce resources and quick decision-making.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major health problem that poses a great danger to the well-being of the entire humanity. It is important to point out that the healthcare system of the US is reliant on people who conduct and manage governance, human resources, information, financing, service delivery, and medicine and technology (Health Systems Global, 2017). The intrinsic characteristic of the coronavirus makes the fight against the pathogen highly challenging due to the difficulty of effectively containing the virus.
At the moment, there are still many questions about the new coronavirus regarding its natural reservoir, transmission routes, pandemic potential. In this regard, it can be assumed that the current outbreak of coronavirus infection is not the last, since vaccines and antiviral drugs against coronaviruses that have proved their effectiveness have not yet been developed, and there is limited knowledge about their epidemiology. All these manifestations of the virus lead to heavy tolls and put a high strain on the healthcare system in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020). Possible new epidemic outbreaks will also be facilitated by population growth, human development of new territories, increased contacts between humans and wild animals, and the development of transport links between countries.
Restructuring of health care in the United States and the effect of the pandemic have significantly expanded the role, powers, and functions of a nurse. Proactivity, enterprise, and creativity have taken the main place in her or his work. The uninitiated role of nurses is outdated when all decisions for them were made by a doctor, held personal responsibility for their work, and tightly controlled them. The previous model of the practice of nurses allowed them to be only at the hands of their doctors and to obey all orders without question. In the absence of the nurse’s doctor, she immediately turned into specialists deprived of any independence. However, the current situation expands the overall range of responsibilities of nursing professionals, which includes the scope of practice, telemedicine services, social media practices, and workplace violence response preparation (Griffiths, 2020). Naturally, where the outdated model of the role of a nurse continues to operate, he or she is faced with a clear discrepancy between the college curriculum and the functions prescribed to her in the workplace.
In addition, in such a healthcare institution, a nurse constantly experiences a negative psycho-emotional load from consumer-oriented medical personnel and patients. It is especially true in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, where nurses are forced to shift their professional, ethical standards from individual well-being to the utilitarian model (Rebar & Heimgartner, 2020). They are at risk of professional emotional burnout or become executors of medical instructions. The nursing staff is the largest category of medical workers, and the services they provide are seen as a valuable resource in the industry to meet the needs of the population in affordable and cost-effective medical care.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the nurses need to independently assess the condition and needs of her patient, make informed decisions in the process of monitoring and caring for him. The basic principle in the organization of nursing is to pay priority attention to the personality of the patients. The nurse becomes their mentor, confidently abandoning the prevailing option that the independence of each patient from one another. The main reason is that COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease, which poses a danger to both patients and medical workers. The goal of the nursing process is to maintain and restore patient independence in meeting the basic needs of the body. Skilled nursing can reduce hospitalization, reduce mortality, and prevent many diseases.
Thus, the modern direction of increasing the effectiveness of the provision of rehabilitation assistance is the wider use in the practice of the work of various types of medical institutions of multidisciplinary teams. In this case, the role and functions of paramedical personnel should be substantially changed. Nurses working in a rehabilitation-type institution COVID-19, considering themselves generally sufficiently trained in the profession, can still experience a certain lack of resources, which can even more manifest when working in the team. Therefore, in these organizations and directly in healthcare institutions, it is necessary to conduct training with the formation of competencies necessary for the implementation of the nursing process in a multidisciplinary team during a pandemic.
In conclusion, one should be aware the coronavirus pandemic put a heavy strain on the healthcare system not only in the United States but the entire globe. The lack of a vaccine means that healthcare facilities can only provide assistance measures without a proper solution. Therefore, the role of nurses is critically important because they are forced to operate under high-stress conditions of scarce resources and patient overflow.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). COVID-19 in the United States: Insights from healthcare systems [Video]. YouTube.
Griffiths, D. (2020). 4 risk areas nurses face amid novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread. American Holistic Nurses Association, 18-19.
Health Systems Global. (2017). What is health policy and systems research and how can it strengthen health systems? [Video]. YouTube.
Rebar, C. R., & Heimgartner, N. M. (2020). Nursing in the midst of COVID-19. Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 11-12.