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More than 600 nurses work throughout the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, many of them on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, and others in critical policy, management, and support roles. The four themes of this year’s National Nurses Week celebration –self-care, recognition, professional development, and community engagement—have been visible throughout the Department as our nurses step up to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DPH’s important role of licensing nurses has been especially critical during the pandemic response. The Board of Registration in Nursing implemented policies allowing out-of-state nurses to be licensed in one business day and enabling a temporary license that remains active until the state’s COVID emergency ends. The Board has licensed 2,687 expedited licenses and 1,155 temporary licenses.

Nurses from the Division of Health Care Facility and Licensure have provided support in a variety of ways, including training and consulting on audit visits conducted by nurses from DPH and MassHealth; helping with policy development and assisting hospitals to increase bed capacity. With colleagues from MassHealth, 10 DPH nurses from the Division are conducting the first round of infection control on-site audits of all nursing homes. Additional nurses will be conducting follow-up visits in the coming weeks.

Our nurses have been stepping in to assist colleagues in nursing homes including the Chelsea Soldier’s Home and Holyoke Soldier’s Home, providing guidance with infection control training, tracking, screening and isolating residents who tested positive for COVID 19.

The Massachusetts SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) Program staff assisted the COVID Command Center to “stand-up” the first of six Isolation and Recovery Centers for persons without homes, as they recover from COVID illness. SANE Program staff is also helping identify options for care of sexual assault patients who may be reluctant to use emergency departments during the COVID-19 crisis. Pediatric SANE staff continues to play a critical role within their Children’s Advocacy Centers.

The Department is proud of its nurses serving on the front lines and in support roles. We salute them during this National Nurses Week and all year long.

Written By:

Communications Director at the Department of Public Health

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