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Humans of Healthcare: Angela Powell

7:18 PM · Oct 1, 2021

Angela Powell has been at Mercy for 15 years. She has worked in the Intensive Care Unit for four years before spending the last 11 in the Emergency Department. She is also on the Oregon State Board of Nursing, Oregon Nurses Association Education Council, and the Education Chair for Oregon Emergency Nurses Association. “In the beginning of COVID, the number of patients being seen in the ED dropped by 50%. Then we saw an increase, maybe not in numbers, but in how sick people were. Three months ago, we had both - pre COVID numbers returned and our patients were sicker. This last surge was described by many as ‘younger, sicker, faster.’” “In the middle of it, we had staffing issues. Hospitals nationwide are hemorrhaging ED nurses. A lot of nurses have left and new nurses came in. It’s been a challenge to balance training, caring for patients, and supporting the new nurses during the surge. It’s a fast pace environment and you have to ensure your patients are getting the care they need all while training. The new nurses are doing fantastic. They do what needs to be done and don’t complain.” “At a state level, we have concerns about the sustainability of healthcare, pandemic impact on an already fractured system, how to best serve the healthcare workers we have, and preparing the next generation to fill the void. Public safety is our top priority.” “The most encouraging thing is how our community pulls together in a time of crisis. A lot of people in the emergency department have lived here for a very long time. This is our community, we are caring for our neighbors, family, friends. We pull together as a team to take care of them and they pull together to take care of us. There are a lot of controversial issues, things that are being debated, things that are dividing us. I think it’s really important that we don’t let these issues affect the way we work together, because together is how we’re going to get through this.”

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