Doctors wheeling patient in the ER

COVID-19. Here’s How You Can Prepare to Help.

We don’t have to tell you COVID-19 is a pandemic, and we’re not here to belabor the point. Some countries have been hit harder than others, but the impact is felt deeply on a global scale. And none more than in the medical community.

But unlike it’s being portrayed in the media, this isn’t about the virus itself as much as about what it does to the body, ultimately resulting in how it strains our medical resources. Here is the COVID-19, or the nickname for SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – S ARDS) chain of reaction in a nutshell:

COVID-19: Causes pulmonary infection. Pulmonary infection causes ARDS. ARDS is treated with a ventilator. Sometimes it causes septic shock. Septic shock is treated with vasopressors.

As we’re well aware, we simply don’t have enough pulmonary critical care physicians or ventilators to handle the current influx of patients. So the need then shifts to additional medical staff who have had training—at some point—even if their skills are far from fresh.

If you haven’t done a rotation in an ICU recently and aren’t a pulmonary critical care specialist, the anxiety of intubating a patient or selecting a vasopressor can send shockwaves through your system. But it’s a realistic expectation that as the number of COVID cases rise, the likelihood of being called on to help in the ICU grows with it.

Italy has called everyone who has a medical degree—no matter what kind—to help. The students, the retirees, everyone. It’s all hands on deck. Hopefully this won’t happen in the U.S., but being prepared means being ready to help as many people as fast as possible.

Learn more about Italy’s situation, directly from a doctor in the trenches.

Obviously, it’s impossible to train everyone to be a pulmonary critical care physician in time to support this current pandemic—a pulmonary critical care fellowship is three years long. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that help is still needed now. So, the goal for anyone who is called on to help is simply this: Be proficient. Be good enough.

As 86% of med students have already experienced, OnlineMedEd videos help teach complex medical topics efficiently and effectively. Our videos are concise yet high yield, helping students master topics and make connections that usually take more experience and time to master. And we offer these videos for free.

OnlineMedEd content is also focussed to each level of learner. Basic sciences content is for preclinical students, the clinical sciences content is for those who are just scratching the surface of each specialty, and our intern content is intended to prepare physicians for practice under supervision. And, in light of the Covid Crisis, we’ve introduced our “In The ICU” series

Here, we have collated a suite of our pre-existing lectures to prepare a trainee to operate independently under supervision. Meaning any physician, regardless of specialty, can brush up on their pulmonary crit care skill set and be able to jump under the supervision of a critical care physician if need be.

In most cases, asking non-critical care physicians to help with the most complex intubated patients won’t happen. However, most patients on a ventilator or pressors can be managed by physicians who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of either. And, if those same physicians can be onboarded effectively and efficiently, they can unburden the critical care physicians to focus on those who need their expertise. 

Our Intern Content has already been doing this for years—preparing physicians to practice under supervision. And that is exactly what is needed here, helping as many physicians who can perform a set of tasks under the guidance of a specialist.

But being able to dive in and help relieve the critical care staff with efficiency and without fear is perhaps the most important driver of all. Our videos aim to help physicians help physicians.

For the most relevant, high-yield videos on pulmonary critical care, visit the “Inside the ICU” series here: https://info.onlinemeded.org/covid-19.

 We are all in this together. Stay safe, sane, and educated out there.

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