Role of retrieval nurse practitioners in safely transferring critically ill adults and children during COVID-19
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Role of retrieval nurse practitioners in safely transferring critically ill adults and children during COVID-19

Joanna Davies Retrieval nurse practitioner, South Thames Retrieval Service, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, London, England
Karen Starkie Nurse lead, South Thames Retrieval Service, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, London, England
Shelley Riphagen Consultant, paediatric intensive care unit, lead consultant, South Thames Retrieval Service, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise that retrieval nurse practitioners provide safe inter-hospital transport of critically ill babies and children

  • To learn how paediatric retrieval nurse practitioners adapted to provide safe inter-hospital transport for adults during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic

  • To identify the importance of nurses responding flexibly to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic within the limits of their professional competence

This article explores the experiences of South Thames Retrieval Service (STRS) retrieval nurse practitioners in providing inter-hospital transfers of critically ill babies and children during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As well as its usual cohort of patients, the STRS also transferred critically ill and ventilated adults. The authors present a comparative analysis of pre-pandemic and pandemic retrievals over two six-week periods, one year apart. In the first period, from December 2019 to the end of January 2020, STRS retrieval nurse practitioners transported 47 critically ill children. One year later, during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, STRS retrieval nurse practitioners transported 50 critically ill children and 26 critically ill adults with COVID-19 and a premature baby who was a COVID-19 contact. The latter two groups are not usually transported by the service. All of the patients retrieved by the STRS team during the COVID-19 pandemic were safely transported. This initiative demonstrated how nurses worked flexibly during the pandemic within the limits of their professional competence.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2022.e1425

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

joanna.davies@gstt.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Davies J, Starkie K, Riphagen S (2022) Role of retrieval nurse practitioners in safely transferring critically ill adults and children during COVID-19. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2022.e1425

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the retrieval nurse practitioners from South Thames Retrieval Service, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, for sharing their experiences; all the retrieval nurses from South Thames Retrieval Service and ambulance technicians who transferred these patients as part of the team; and Andrew Nyman for the provision of historical data

Published online: 06 June 2022

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