Advice on Health and Safety During the Global Pandemic


Posted on: Monday, July 20, 2020
By: Lucy Ann Lance
The Lucy Ann Lance Show

Advice on Health and Safety During the Global Pandemic

Dr. Mindy Rice, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Chair, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Pre-Licensure) offers advice on safe health practices to pursue to best protect against COVID-19 and how nurses are being educated to provide compassionate patient care amid the challenges being presented by the ongoing pandemic.

SAU Audio file transcription Lucy Ann Lance Show

00:00 Speaker 1: More than 3.7 million Americans have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 3.7 million. And more than 140,000 people have died. And now, some cities across the nation are contemplating another stay-at-home order. Some medical officials are worrying that as time goes on, we are becoming too lax in personal prevention measures the longer the pandemic continues. And I just checked our local numbers as well, in Michigan, on Sunday, there were 483 confirmed cases and two confirmed deaths. And cumulatively, here in the State of Michigan, we have had 6,119 confirmed deaths and 247 probable deaths. So, that brings the total number of deaths confirmed and probable to just over 6,300, 6,366. Those are more than numbers for the families that have been personally impacted by this. And let's face it, we've all been personally impacted just by the fact that we've had to change our lives. We can't do what we used to do. We have to be very careful.

01:20 S1: We are gonna get some advice this morning from Dr. Mindy Rice out of Spring Arbor University on best health practices. She is Chair of The Baccalaureate Pre-Licensure Nursing program at Spring Arbor, and we welcome her to 1290 WLBY. Good morning, Dr. Rice.

01:38 Speaker 2: Good morning, Lucy Ann, thank you for having me.

01:43 S1: How hard has this been, teaching the future nurses that are gonna be going out into this world now that is defined by COVID-19 and the questions that might be on their mind as healthcare workers? 

02:00 S2: That is an excellent question, and just like you just said, this whole world has changed, even how we educate our nurses has changed. And they have been extremely adaptable, it's been amazing to watch them, and we teach in nursing education that no matter what situation, we have to identify it, we assess it, and then we just discover a plan that we need to do afterwards, and we go with that. And so, we use evidence, and we use research to back that up, and they have been nervous sometimes, but really, the overall attitude has been, "Put me in there, I wanna help." So, that's what we want for nurses, is somebody who wants to be in there and [02:53] ____ help.

02:54 S1: How surprised are you, Dr. Rice, that as time goes on, we seem not to be able to combat this effectively? We are continuing to be under these constraints that our governor has put us under, here in the State of Michigan, and we see these numbers continuing, we thought that by summertime, this would burn off, as they say, and that really hasn't happened, does this come as a surprise for you as a healthcare educator? 

03:27 S2: Well, I believe that we need some more time, actually. It takes time to do the research, it takes time to really find out what's behind this, what's going on, what is going to eradicate this, if anything. So, yes and no, I would say it's just a new thing for us, so, on one hand, we do need some more time for the research to be done. But yeah, I was personally hoping that this summer, things would be looking up instead of going back down. I guess that's just the way it goes, though, sometimes.

04:08 S1: Well, and you bring up a very good point for those of us lay people, we wanna see these things happen quickly, those of you that are in the healthcare field, you understand how long it takes to create a vaccine, to do research, to get tests back from the COVID-19 test, et cetera. Most of us, we live in such a fast-paced world with technology, we expect all of this to happen instantly, and that's not always true in the healthcare industry, is it? 

04:36 S2: Correct. No, and like I said before, I want to have a vaccine that's been researched. I want to have treatment that have been tested on many people over a long period of time. However, I totally understand, I emphasize with those who have loved ones who have passed away. They wanted that much earlier, so there is that sense of urgency, "We've gotta get something done now." And I think I tend to be pretty positive, and I think that people are working on it as much as possible. We just don't have the data that we need over the long span of time.

05:21 S1: Dr. Mindy Rice, Doctor of Nursing Practice in nursing administration and education, and she teaches at Spring Arbor University, has been there since 2013 and has taught a variety of nursing courses, both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Let's talk about the practices that you are encouraging your future nurses at Spring Arbor that are coming out of the program there, and all of us on safe practices in the era of COVID-19, what do you want to remind all of us that we should be doing right now? 

05:56 S2: Well, I think common-sense practices, everything that everyone has heard and almost to exhaustion: Washing hands, social distancing those are common sense. We've got to do that, and right, now in our state, we have to wear a mask if we wanna go have the ease of shopping at Meyer or Kroger or wherever. So, wear a mask, whether you like it or not. It's just what we're doing right now. The extra things, though, that I tell my students and practice for my own talk is more along the lines of keeping mentally healthy, intentionally making goals for yourself, even if it's a small goal. I've been trying to give my 10,000 steps a day. So focusing on getting that done has helped me to just mentally be clear.

06:49 S2: And something else that I say that everybody needs, and I've been trying to do, is get a little sunshine everyday. It's so easy to be stuck at home in the air conditioning and it's so hot outside sometimes, but get a little dose of vitamin D. I think that really helps mentally clear me up, at least. And do a small task, like grow something. We've planted a garden this year, and it just helped me take my mind off flipping through Facebook and seeing everybody's arguments, and you know, all of the news that can tend to get you down and be negative. Even if it's one seed in a pot on your countertop, plant something, watch something grow.

07:35 S2: Turn off the television and news at some point during the day and just focus on your family. I think this time has given us some benefits. I've really been enjoying being able to just slow down and cooked dinner and intentionally give my family some time. Helping to just go out of your way to be kind to others, understanding that people are understandably upset at some things that are going on, and just to be that person that gives the extra smile or gives a little leeway, or just goes out of their way to be courteous, that helps you inside also to just be a more kind and better person.

08:26 S1: What tremendous advice, I love that. And I do know a lot of people who have been doing more creative types of things, taking up sewing or knitting. The gardening has a very prevalent on Facebook, people posting their pictures, and it's been so wonderful to see. And getting out there and exercising, so maybe set new goals, kind of reset your own clock and what your priorities are before the pandemic, when we were so supercharged in our work lives, and I think our personal lives, and these family activities and connections were put on the wayside. So, we definitely have reset our important items in our life, and I think that's been one of the positive aspects.

09:06 S1: Very quickly, Dr. Rice, I want to have you go over some of what you're hearing, the signs of having COVID-19 are, because there are so many variables here from people who are asymptomatic who end up getting tested positive. And that's an important population, because they can then pass it along to people who are infirm, the elderly, like their grandparents, and it's very important that they know that. I wanna set this up by saying that my fiance and I both contracted COVID-19, and we were both hospitalized at the University of Michigan, and he passed away. At the time, this was back in April, but when we contracted it in March, we couldn't get anyone to test us, because our symptoms, which were diarrhea, the nausea, and other kinds of things, weren't on the radar yet. And we didn't have the fever. Now, they're saying, "Okay, we get it. We know some people don't present with a fever." So this has been an evolution, to understand who should get tested, and back then, they didn't have a lot of the tests available, so they were being very judicious with who was going to get it. And by the way, I want to mention, my fiance, is a Spring Arbor University graduate, so, [laughter] he was very proud of you, Dr. Rice.

10:14 S2: Aw. Good. Awesome.

10:17 S1: So I guess what can you tell us today, what you're hearing about the actual signs of COVID-19 for people to watch out for? 

10:26 S2: Yeah, I think the fever is an easy metric to check, so a lot of people in businesses, I dropped my son off at day campus learning, of course, they checked temperature right away. So, fever, chills, cough, the shortness of breath, a lot of people have said the loss of taste or smell, I wonder, did you experience that? Not everyone does.

10:54 S1: I did, and it happened right after having a hyper-sensitivity to smell.

11:00 S2: Oh! Okay, I haven't heard that, but okay, that's interesting. Just the body aches and just feeling like it hits you, a lot of people have said it just hit them out of nowhere. They're feeling fine one day, and the next day, just feeling bad. So I think that's a clue, and something that we should be watching for. Some people had sore throat, runny nose kind of thing. It's hard right now, isn't it? Allergies are rampant. So those are sort of... Runny nose, colds, sneezing, with itchy eyes, those are all... You could be worried that, "Oh, maybe I should be tested." And I guess a lot of places are encouraging the testing and maybe that why our numbers are climbing also, 'cause more and more are being tested. But the nausea, the diarrhea, those things, too, are flags that I would pay attention to, for sure.

12:00 S1: Yeah, absolutely, and I agree with you. Better safe than sorry, get that test, even if you think it might be your seasonal allergies because you just don't know, and it still is out there, COVID-19. Dr. Rice, what a pleasure talking with you this morning. We wish you and your students well, and we thank them for going into this field. It's such an important one, nursing. We appreciate it.

12:19 S2: Yes. Thank you so much for having me.

12:22 S1: Dr. Mindy Rice, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Nursing Administration and Education, and she is the Chair of the Baccalaureate Pre-licensure Nursing program at Spring Arbor University. I'm Lucy Ann Lance, and this is an Ann Arbor's Talk Station, 1290 WLBY.