Will Garzon | Instagram
Will Garzon is a model who we’ve featured on our website and socials, and it’s safe to say he has a huge fan base among our readers. What you might not know is that he’s a nurse based in Utah where he is currently working at a COVID-19 clinic. We asked him to tell us about his experience.
I am a nurse practitioner who specialises in family and general medicine in the United States. At this time, I am part of a medical group that offers primary care services to uninsured and underserved populations regardless of their ability to pay.
Over the past four months, our medical practice has been redesigned in order to meet the needs of our patients in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Because the vast majority of our patients do not normally have access to medical care, we as a health care team, decided that it was up to us to join forces with our local health department to help reduce the spread of this infection in our community.
As of 15 March 2020, we became a “high risk” COVID-19 clinic; this means that we are only seeing patients with COVID-19 symptoms who are under investigation or patients who have already had a positive test result and need medical care throughout the duration of their illness.
The way we have set up our practice allows us to not only provide testing, but to also evaluate patients and determine if their infection and symptoms can be managed at home or if they need to be transferred to hospital.
At the same time, we have also created a space where patients who are SARS-CoV-2 positive to receive care not related to their infection – for example those who need prenatal care, injuries and procedures, or management of uncontrolled chronic conditions without being forced to wait for their infections to resolve.
In an effort to keep everyone safe, only two clinicians (a colleague and myself) and four medical assistants are stationed at our clinic. A large portion of our patients are cared for under a tent in our parking lot while the rest are seen inside the clinic in exam rooms that have been carefully set up to minimize the risk of infection to others. Having to alternate between seeing patients inside and outside the clinic can be a little overwhelming at times.
One of the most challenging aspects of this entire process has been keeping up with the high demand for testing and appointments while at the same time managing to provide services in the summer heat wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment). Fortunately, we have an amazing team that works hard to ensure everything runs smoothly and that is ready to jump in and help when any of us need assistance or when we need a quick break.
Working at the COVID-19 clinic has been both challenging and rewarding. Some days it feels like our efforts are not making a difference, especially when we see more and more patients getting sick and having to be hospitalised for complications related to this virus. However, there are also many more that make a full recovery and, as a health care provider, it is a privilege to be involved in their care during a situation that can create a great deal of uncertainty and fear.
I know the fight is not over yet but I am certain that if we work together, all of us, we will be able limit the number of casualties and overcome this global pandemic.