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‘Dofficers’ keep MultiCare staff safe

Posted on Apr. 23, 2020 ( comments)
Dofficer Capr Helmet

Tina Wood. Surgical Tech. Dofficer.

Dofficer isn’t a title she ever thought she’d have, but the work she and others do at MultiCare is vital to help the caregivers who treat patients battling COVID-19.

Wood, along with nine fellow dofficers at MultiCare Auburn and Covington medical centers, walk through the units to train and retrain caregivers on how to properly put on and remove personal protective equipment (PPE). The program is under the direction of MultiCare’s Infection Prevention team that oversees Auburn and Covington medical centers. They work in collaboration with Surgical Services, Clinical Excellence and Nursing Administration.

“The dofficer training program is another step to keep our patients and our staff safe in today’s challenging times,” said Lucy Norris, RN, chief nurse executive for Auburn and Covington medical centers. “The teamwork involved in this effort is impressive.”

Dofficers are working to provide 24/7 coverage. Throughout the day, they swing by every unit where patients receive care. They pop in the lab and radiology to offer tips. They are also on call for training drop-ins as requested.

“I walk on the floors and watch how people don and doff PPE,” Wood said. “I suggest things when I see something that is not up to standards.”

They carry a bag full of training PPE that they can pull out to demonstrate when necessary. The first week, Wood spent showing staff how to use, disinfect and reuse protective face shields.

“The attention to detail as to how you put on and take off PPE is incredibly important,” said Arun Mathews, MD, chief medical officer for Auburn and Covington medical centers. “It’s good to have a second set of eyes to gently remind us the proper methods.”

Dofficers also spent time showing caregivers the proper use of CAPRs, a battery-powered air purifying respirator that provides caregivers with high levels of respiratory and contact protection.

There are two types of CAPRs: one for operating rooms and another for “everyday” use. CAPRs are used during certain procedures that could allow bacteria or virus particulates can get into the air.

“I mainly show people how to use CAPRs,” Wood said. “Many don’t use those very often. With a CAPR, I tell them to treat it like it your own baby or an egg.”

Nurses in the ICU COVID-19 Ward wear CAPRs and full protective gear through their entire shifts.

“I’m really proud of the ICU team.” Wood said. “It’s so hectic in there. They took to us well. There was none of the, ‘This is my turf.’ They accepted the training well.”

Clinical Director Rose Atkins, RN, appreciates the opportunities. “It’s wonderful to have the dofficers teaming up with us to keep our staff safe,” she said.

In operating rooms, it’s a different level of PPE. There, doctors use a slightly different CAPR, this one includes a sort of shroud that is tucked under a protective gown.

“They look a little like a Smurf,” Wood said.

Surgeons don the CAPR helmet and the shroud goes overtop that. A nurse helps them put on a blue gown and gloves.

“Now, two weeks into the training, everyone seems to be a bit more calm,” Wood said. “At first, everyone had a lot of questions. Overall, most do pretty well. Hand hygiene is always good. They wipe things down well.”

Removing, or doffing, the PPE is also carefully done. The main tip there is to avoid touching the outside parts, where contamination or virus may have latched on. Afterward, perform hand hygiene before you move on.

Posted in: COVID-19 | Puget Sound

About The Author

Melissa Campbell

Melissa Campbell is the communication specialist for MultiCare Auburn and Covington medical centers. You may reach her at [email protected].

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