Nurses in Charleston County School District (CCSD) cleaned out their clinics this week in an effort to provide much-needed supplies. The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has taken a toll on health care workers on the front line and their ability to obtain things as basic as gloves and N-95 surgical masks.
Ellen Nitz, CCSD’s Director of Nursing Services, has been closely following the information on the Coronavirus. Other states are five to seven days ahead of South Carolina. As the virus continued to strengthen and pick up speed in South Carolina, Nitz felt it was time to re-evaluate what part CCSD nurses played in protecting the community.
“There have been pleas for help from emergency room doctors in those states,” said Nitz. “It’s a cry for help from those folks in emergency rooms across the country, working the front line, who don’t have the supplies they need. Knowing they are a week ahead of us, I was compelled to reach out to my school nurses see what we could do gather supplies to help our local health care providers so they would not face as much as need as others.”
Belle Hall Elementary School’s nurse, Kathryn Nash, said that once schools closed nurses across the district still wanted to serve in some in some capacity. “We’re nurses and we felt helpless because we can’t do what we do,” explained Nash. “I was anxious to get a call to relieve the hospitals and health workers. I have experience and I foresee it will come to that. In the meantime, there was not much we could do.” Nash added she and nurses throughout CCSD went through their clinics and found lots of things to donate. Thousands of masks, gloves, probe covers, gauze, and various other medical supplies were collected.
Almost every single one of the 87 schools and programs in CCSD was able to contribute to the donation. Each was asked to hold back a few items for their clinics to be used upon their return to school. “This small gesture was a way to be proactive and share resources,” said Nitz. “We wanted to do our part for the community.”
Nash said it was the least they could do. “I have been a nurse with CCSD for 13 years,” said Nash. “I was amazed but then I wasn’t. I was happy to see all of the nurses who showed up to Mary Ford Elementary School on Monday when we were asked to drop off supplies. The call to action was answered in a beautiful way. I am so proud to be a member of this team and proud to be a CCSD nurse. Over the years I have gotten to know so many of these nurses and they all do it for the right reasons. We miss our kids, though.”
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