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Queen’s Health welcomes nurses from out-of-state to help with COVID-19

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The Queen’s Health Systems has welcomed 81 medical workers that have arrived to Hawaii from out-of-state to help frontline caregivers during the coronavirus surge.

This first wave of nurses and respiratory therapists arrived over the weekend, according to Queen’s, and will be assigned to the emergency department, intensive care unit, and medical-surgical units caring for COVID patients.

Today, they went through orientation and were greeted by Queen’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jill Hoggard Green and Chief Nursing Officer Kelly Johnson. They will work for about 8-week shifts at a time.

Queen’s has assigned 63 to Queen’s Medical Center at Punchbowl, 15 to Queen’s Medical Center – West Oahu, two to Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital on Hawaii island, and one to Molokai General Hospital.

“Our nurses are tired and we don’t have enough of them to manage the numbers of patients that are coming in across all the islands, but particularly at our west campus,” said Green. “So they come from all over and we actually asked for a large number of critical care nurses and telemetry qualified nurses. We have a huge number of COVID patients coming in that need high-level respiratory support, mechanical support for breathing, whether it’s a ventilator or high rates of oxygenation.”

Hawaii will receive $46 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to bring more than 500 traveling health care workers to hospitals statewide to help deal with the COVID-19 surge through staffing services firm ProLink Healthcare.

The Hawaii Department of Health worked with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii and Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to bring in the additional staff for the second time during the pandemic.

“We are once again very appreciative of the federal government’s support in providing aid to help us through this surge,” said Green in a news release. “This team of nurses and respiratory therapists will provide much needed help to our caregivers who have been working tirelessly for the last 18 months. They have sacrificed so much of themselves and we are so appreciative of their efforts. We would also like to thank our State partners and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii for their work in making this happen.”

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