University of South Florida to launch new COVID-19 training program for nurses as cases climb

Posted at 6:36 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 07:55:42-05

TAMPA — The University of South Florida is launching a new COVID-19 training program for nurses.

The school received a $57,000 donation from Sarasota businessman David Kotok that will allow USF to produce and implement an education program directed for frontline nurses.

It will consist of webinars and podcasts that will provide nurses caring for COVID-19 patients with resources and education to help them safely do their jobs during the pandemic.

Nurses say their jobs are already stressful, but the rising COVID-19 cases are just exacerbating it.

“We see that things unfortunately seem to be getting worse, instead of getting better. Recently the CDC released a report that identified 36 percent healthcare workers who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are nurses, and nursing assistants. The need is there and we want to be able to be a solution to this problem,” said Dr. Rayna Letourneau, Assistant Professor of USF College of Nursing.

The program is designed to give nurses across the Bay Area, statewide, and nationally the tools they need to better care for themselves.

“We need healthy nurses to care for our patients and our population. We need nurses that are well mentally and physically. Without those nurses our healthcare industry is at great risk,” said Letourneau.

Experts say since the pandemic started, nearly 1,000 nurses have died from COVID-19 related issues and that number is on the rise.

“They are exhausted. They are working much longer hours than usual, they are taking care of much sicker patients than usual, not all nurses are in hospitals that have appropriate PPE,” said Letourneau.

A recent CDC study shoes nurses are at great risk for contracting COVID-19 and highlights a need for continued infection prevention and control in healthcare settings and communities.

USF is working on production of the program right now. It should be available in January