Contributing in the fight against Coronavirus

Highly qualified health workers, several thousands pairs of latex gloves, ultrasound equipment and beds. Read more about Nord's contributions.

Nord University has health sciences programmes in several municipalities in Nordland and Trøndelag. So when it became clear that the pandemic would reach Norway, Nord University was quick to establish contact with host municipalities and local health services in order to establish an overview of both human and material resources.

The result is several new wards for Covid-19 patients, distribution of advanced medical and infection control equipment and, not least, personnel.

Ultrasound equipment - shortages

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At work for emergency services: Study programme coordinator Bjørn Ove Faldaas from Nord University on a shift at emergency services communications HQ (AMK), where he has had preliminary training. Photo: supplied.
Bjørn Ove Faldaas is the study programme coordinator for the Bachelor of Paramedicine at Nord University, and he has a long history of work in the ambulance service, emergency department and at AMK. 

Faldaas says that the Bachelor in Paramedicine has contributed equipment normally used in student training.

– We have a lot of equipment on loan to the emergency department, who receive the most critical patients, as well as to the intensive care unit, says Faldaas.

In addition to ultrasound machines - for which there is currently significant demand - Nord University has also loaned equipment for critical care to the ambulance service.

- We have loaned out to the after-hours doctors office and newly established reception center for patients with suspected Covid-19.

Cooperation and joint responsibility

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Shortages: Ultrasound equipment is in high demand at the hospitals, so Nord University's contribution is greatly appreciated. Photo: supplied.
Faldaas says that the University's contributions are greatly appreciated.

- Healthcare workers say that our contributions ease daily pressures and make diagnostics possible. Ultrasound equipment is in short supply, and this gives more room for action and extensive diagnostics. They have the expertise, just not the equipment, he says.

- I think our role and our responsibility is pretty clear cut in this situation. It is a natural part of our collective social responsibility, says Faldaas.

- All the academic staff in the bachelor's programme have a background in health sciences, and everyone needs to pitch in when the situation demands it.

Faldaas himself is back at AMK, where he has worked previously.

- I have already been in several times and received new training. It feels good to make a contribution, especially when the health sector is under such enormous pressure.

Praise for national efforts

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Humans and machines: Benjamin Stage Storm with a handheld ultrasound machine beside one of the respirators that the hospital has on loan from Nord University. Photo: supplied. 
Benjamin Stage Storm is an anesthetist at Nordland Hospital and lecturer in paramedicine at Nord University. 

- Nord's contributions are extremely important for us. Bodø is a small city, and we do not have unlimited resources, human or material. 

He highlights the loan of ultrasound equipment and a respirator to the hospital's intensive care unit. 

- Ultrasound equipment is really important, to ensure safe and efficient processing of patients and to carry out fast diagnostics for lung function. When a patient is in isolation, using equipment in shifts between several patients really slows things down. By borrowing more equipment, we reduce time used, can carry out diagnostics quickly, and do not need to sterilise equipment as often, says Stage Storm.

- At the intensive care unit, we have borrowed a respirator from the hospital lab at Nord University. This is such an important addition for us, since respirators are in such short supply on the international market right now, he says.

National efforts, and the cooperation in Norwegian society at the moment, is just great. It shows that the Scandinavian model, with a strong public sector, capable of cooperation, has enormous value.

New isolation unit

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Good teamwork. Ingunn Almli Øvereng (center) with colleagues Trude Falch (left) and Lisbet Rein Gaupset at Namsos Hospital. All three are instructors in trauma training. Archive photo: Svein H. Karlsen/Helse Nord-Trøndelag.
Ingunn Almli Øvereng is an intensive care nurse at Namsos Hospital and lectures at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Øvereng is responsible for the skills unit attached to the Bachelor in Nursing in Namsos. In addition, she is one of two intensive care nurses from Nord University Namsos who will contribute to emergency planning and response at the local hospital's intensive care unit.

She says that Namsos municipality has built its own isolation unit at a disused aged care facility on Otterøya. Much of the equipment in the isolation unit comes from the training rooms at the University.

- So far the municipal government has borrowed ten beds, ten nightstands, IV stands, a gurney, and a range of infection control equipment, such as masks, gloves, and disinfectant.  

– Contributions no question

Almli Øvereng started in her position at Nord University in 2019, after many years in the emergency department. She has continued in a part-time position as a trauma manager at the local hospital.

- It's important to keep a foot in each world. I am able to stay professionally up to date in an entirely different way.

She says there is no question about whether the University should contribute human and material resources, when Norway is reinforcing the health sector to meet corona-related challenges.

- When Namsos municipality contacted us, they were experiencing shortages on infection control equipment and were in an unstable situation. This is now much improved, says Øvereng. 

Infection control equipment delivered

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Protective coats, anti-bac and 24 beds: Lars Ove Reinaas from Nord University Levanger says that have provided equipment and people in the fight against Covid-19. Photo: Bjørnar Leknes
Lars Ove Reinaas is an adviser at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences at Nord University in Levanger. He says that they began deliveries of infection control equipment to the local hospital as early as March 12.  

– We drove out what we had of gloves, masks and coats to Levanger Hospital, he says.

Levanger Hospital received around 7500 pairs of gloves, 325 masks and 130 coats directly delivered by Nord University.

- The week before Easter, we delivered our supply of anti-bac, 13 liters of surface disinfectant and 11 liters of disinfectant hand soap, says Reinaas.

Since the hospital did not have enough wall mounts for the anti-bac dispensers, Reinsaas removed the 12 mounts available at Levanger campus and delivered these to the hospital. 

More equipment in storage

The University has more equipment available for delivery to Levanger, should it be required. 

- Our 24 beds are ready to go, and can be delivered on short notice if necessary. We have also registered saturation meters, nasal and spectral catheters and the like.

- In addition, we have submitted an overview of personnel with health sciences backgrounds, who are available if required. Several of us have already been contacted.

- I feel that we have been met with appreciation. The delivery on March 12 meant a lot to the hospital, since they were down to the bone.

- The contact between Nord University and local authorities has shown that we cooperate really well, says Lars Ove Reinaas.