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Nurses retrained to deal with coronavirus patients

Operating room nurses have been retrained on how to test a patient for the virus, as well as how to manage their medications.

LEWISTON, Maine — Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, it has been only emergency surgeries in Maine's hospitals.

Nurses who are usually in the operating room are now on duty to help deal with COVID-19 patients, but not before being retrained.

"I was extremely nervous," nurse Andrea Dyer said.

After spending more than ten years as an operating room nurse, Dyer had to relearn some basics in order to take care of COVID-19 patients.

She couldn't do it alone. She and more than 60 nurses at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) were retrained by nurse Shosha Beal.

"[Beal] retrained me to make sure what I was doing was the right thing to do," Dyer said.

"It was a little bit of a challenge for all of us to step out of our comfort zone because you have a specific comfort zone and now you have to put onto a different floor you didn't work in in maybe ten years," Beal said.

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Beal taught them how to properly put on personal protective equipment, how to manage people's medications, and how to swab someone for the virus.

"There's an angle you have to tilt the head at say 70 degrees or whatever in order to swab a patient. I would have never known the patient has to cough first before we swab them," Dyer said.

Dyer said Beal helped to calm everyone's nerves and made sure all the nurses were ready.

"She was like we can do this and we can do this together. I'm not going to deploy you to the floors without giving you the knowledge you need," Dyer said.

"I wouldn't expect someone on the floor to just wander into my area and say I'm good to go, right, when you have that situation everyone has to learn and be open and work together," Beal said.

Both Beal and Dyer said the days can be difficult and they don't know when they will go back to doing what they normally do, but they said the support from the community and the strong bond all the nurses have is what's pushing them to keep going.

"That's the thing I love about Maine," Dyer said. "The nurses are just such a tight-knit group. Especially with this pandemic. Nurse are resilient and we're strong."

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

NEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus Coverage

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