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  1. Wells, Celia M. PhD, RN
  2. Zhang, Ziya BA
  3. Spano-Szekely, Lauraine DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC
  4. Siller, Jennifer DNP, ACNP-BC, NEA-BC
  5. Brannon, Helen MBA, MSN, RN
  6. Schulz, Kathleen MA, RN
  7. Scott, Christine MSN, RN
  8. Dolphy, Melody BSN, RN
  9. Hughes, Ellen MA, ACNP, NEA-BC
  10. Kohli-Seth, Roopa MD


AIM: To identify strategies that increase hospital bed capacity, material resources, and available nurse staffing during a national pandemic.


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in an influx of acutely ill patients requiring critical care. The volume and acuity of this patient population increased the demand for care and stretched hospitals beyond their capacity. While increasing hospital bed capacity and material resources are crucial, healthcare systems have noted one of the greatest limitations to rapid expansion has been the number of available medical personnel, particularly those trained in emergency and critical care nursing.


EVALUATION: Program evaluation occurred on a daily basis with hospital throughput, focusing on logistics including our ability to expand bed volume, resource utilization, and the ability to meet staffing needs.


CONCLUSION: This article describes how a quaternary care hospital in New York City prepared for the COVID-19 surge in patients by maximizing and shifting nursing resources to its most impacted services, the emergency department (ED) and the intensive care units (ICUs). A tier-based staffing model and rapid training were operationalized to address nurse-staffing shortages in the ICU and ED, identifying key factors for swift deployment.


IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGERS: Frequent communication between staff and leaders improves teamwork and builds trust and buy-in during normal operations and particularly in times of crisis.