March 24, 2020

Nursing students wearing gloves

As the media covers the COVID-19 pandemic, a common narrative is the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel.

After all classes were moved online for Catholic University students, the Conway School of Nursing gathered the PPE from their nursing skills laboratory and delivered it to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md.

Skills Director David Want delivered the following to the hospital, which is one of the school’s clinical partners: 20 boxes of sterile surgical gloves, 61 boxes of non-sterile exam gloves, 13 containers of disinfecting wipes, and 8 packages of isolation exam gowns.

“PPE is critical as healthcare providers care for those who have or are at risk of having COVID-19,” said Dean Patricia McMullen. “Given that our students are studying virtually, they will not be using these materials and we are, instead, working to ensure our colleagues in practice have much-needed equipment.”

Dr. Greg Jolissaint of Holy Cross Health is organizing the collection of unopened medical supplies at both Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital. He said that "the PPE shared by the Catholic University Conway School of Nursing are essential in caring for patients with infectious diseases, especially now as we see more patients with Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and even those that might test positive for COVID-19.

“Safety for our care providers and the patient remains a top priority," he continued. "We understand that there are national shortages of PPE and even of some critical supplies used for cleaning, which makes this donation to Holy Cross Health even more valuable."

Dr. Norvell Coots, president and CEO of Holy Cross Health, added his gratitude, sharing "to our friends and colleagues at Catholic University, we are grateful for your support of the Holy Cross workforce. As we share in the Catholic tradition, we are grateful for your stewardship of these important resources and your reverence for those who serve and those whom we serve."

UPDATE: As of Monday, March 30, Catholic University has donated additional supplies to Holy Cross. Following the example set by the Nursing School, the Environmental Health and Safety office delivered a surplus from their emergency stockpile including 1,100 surgical masks, 120 N99 masks, and 20 small biohazard spill kits (each kit has a gown, foot covers, head cover, disposable gloves, eyeglasses and face shield, N95 mask, small container of sanitizer, and a red waste bag.)

The Environmental Health and Safety office has been closely evaluating its supply of PPE. Its remaining stock is sufficient if needed to respond to both facilities and laboratory incidents.

Additionally, the Department of Chemistry offered extra supplies, and the nursing school arranged for them to be sent to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, another of their clinical sites. The chemistry department donated 7,000 nitrile inspection gloves, 108 ANSI Z87 eye goggles, and 114 vinyl aprons all unused and in unopened containers.