The Problem: New York State deregulated hospital capacity and is allowing 100% more capacity of hospitals, which means that hospitals must find other spaces that can be used for clinical care otherwise left empty or for non-clinical use.
Our Approach: At the beginning of the pandemic, student volunteers were contacted by Emergency Management through our Office of Student Affairs to help identify locations within the hospital suitable for patient care and to help create space. All students were given appropriate PPE and told to go from floor to floor recording number of rooms, existing beds, and medical gas outlets. Students also recorded if a room had space for an additional bed, and if alternative rooms (offices, lounges) could accommodate a hospital bed or stretcher.
The general approach to soliciting volunteers is as follows:
- Administrative Request. A centralized request form is submitted by the clinical team (i.e. faculty or administrator) with a description of the task, the estimated number of hours, and the estimated number of students requested.
- Vetting. The request is received by the Office of Student Affairs, which reviews the request and decides whether it is appropriate for student volunteering based on a number of factors, including usefulness, risks to students, and clinical expertise required. Those opportunities that are deemed inappropriate are sent back to requester.
- Triage. The Office of Student Affairs determines the level of clinical expertise needed to staff the request - e.g., whether MS2s or MS3s with clinical rotation experience are needed, vs. MS1s. The request is then forwarded to Clinical Support Liaison on the student level.
- Student Assignment. Based on the type of work requested, the Clinical Support Liaison assigns the task to one of several Task Forces responsible for coordinating all clinical requests related to a certain domain (e.g. Workplace Safety, Remote Clinical Work, etc.).
- Recruitment. Each Task Force leader recruits volunteers and ensures position requests are filled.
- Participants: All medical school classes.
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