Anesthesia Workstations as Intensive Care Ventilators During a COVID-19 Surge

SARS-CoV-2 is an extremely transmittable virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In the last 20 years, COVID-19 is the third coronavirus pandemic to occur. The SARS virus of 2002, while highly virulent, was not rapidly transmitted and thus did not create a significant strain on healthcare infrastructure. In early 2009, Influenza A (H1N1) like COVID-19 transmitted rapidly throughout the world and increased hospitalizations at an exponential rate but was still treatable with available medical resources. The surge created by COVID-19, however, resulted in an increase in hospitalizations that created such a strain on hospital infrastructure, it became necessary to implement alternative patient care solutions to treat the surge of critically ill patients. As COVID-19 spread, patients showed rapid decline with many requiring respiratory support via mechanical ventilation. This rise in intensive care ventilator use, outstripped available resources and generated an imminent need for unconventional solutions. Anesthesia workstations were rapidly identified as a viable alternative to address the demand for mechanical ventilation devices created by COVID-19. The use of anesthesia workstations within the intensive care environment however, resulted in a knowledge gap for critical care nurses who had no prior exposure to the equipment. Thus, creation of an evidence based online continuing education module in collaboration with Echelon, AdventHealth University's (AHU) professional education division will help decrease critical care nurse knowledge gap regarding the use of anesthesia machines as intensive care ventilators. With a secondary aim of constructing an SRNA guidance protocol that clarifies and improves the CE module development at AHU.