Colleen E. McGauley FNP-BC, MSN, RN, BSN
Mass General Hospital for Children
NEF Scholar: 2018-2019

COVID 19 is certainly dominating hospital resources but providers are now faced with the challenges of caring for our adult and pediatric patients (who do not have COVID 19) in the setting of a global pandemic. It is through these times that the adaptability and comprehensive nature of the nursing profession has been highlighted for the greater public to see.

I have seen multiple sides to the crisis from my role as a family nurse practitioner, ICU registered nurse, and family member caring for a sick loved one.

I work as a family nurse practitioner in a general surgery clinic at MGH caring for patients with orthopedic based issues. In this role, I communicate and coordinate care for patients and families both in the clinic setting and virtually. We have found creative ways to provide education, coordinate across disciplines, provide physical therapy services, and manage pain.

I am a trained pediatric ICU nurse of five years. During the last week of March 2020, the unit was transitioned to an adult based COVID 19 unit. Over the last 8 weeks, I have been working in the ICU to help care for COVID + patients. Over the last two weeks, we have opened a number of pediatric beds to care for emergent and trauma-based cases. In this way, we are now managing both critically ill adults and urgent pediatric cases. Once again, I believe this highlights the varied advanced skill set of nurses.

I have seen how this crisis effects families who have a sick loved one. My father was in hospice care throughout this crisis and passed away in late March. Navigating hospital resources and advocating for a loved one seemed nearly impossible in the chaotic environment of COVID 19.

It is through all these experiences that I have learned the strengths and weaknesses of the healthcare system. I hope to be a future change agent and continue advocating for all my patients and families.

Hope you are staying safe. Thank you NEF for reaching out. Please let me know if NEF needs anything else as this organization supported me immensely while I completed my graduate studies.