To assist the Department of Public Health and Social Services with addressing COVID-19 on Guam, nurses from the Guam Department of Education have been tapped to serve on the frontlines of the disease response.
47 nurses from the island’s public schools will be deployed within the next few days to help Public Health combat COVID-19 on Guam — whether it’s through fielding phone calls about the disease, working in the island’s hospitals, or visiting residences.
Earlier today, nurses attended an N95 mask fitting to ensure that they are protected while out in the field.
GDOE Health and Nursing Administrator Julietta Quinene says that the next step in the process would be finalizing where each nurse will be placed such as hospitals to treat patients or screen passengers at the airport.
Julietta Quinene, Community Health and Nursing Services Administrator, said: “So now that I’ve worked with all the school nurses, they’ve identified what would be the first, second choice for where they could possibly help for now. I’ll work with the Public Health nurse leaders to see how we can place them and things like that.”
Some of the challenges that these nurses will face will not just be the unfamiliarities of a new disease, but also a potential lack of resources, according to Kimberly Edusma, a nurse at the Maria Ulloa Elementary School.
“This is worldwide and this is a national and worldwide shortage of supplies and that’s what makes this a little more dangerous for our community,” Edusma said.
Despite the difficulties on the road ahead, Quinene, along with the dozens of nurses enlisted in the response, are ready to serve the island.
Quinene, when asked how she feels about being in the frontline in the war against the coronavirus, has this to say: “This is important. This is what we live for. This is why we’re nurses. We know that as part of our training, this can happen. This is our community. We’re one, now. It’s not about Public Health and there are the school nurses. It’s one front to make sure that we mitigate and ensure the numbers stay down so that the hospitals don’t get overloaded.”