As health care workers experience a new level of strain and exhaustion combating the coronavirus pandemic and caring for COVID-19 patients, one newly created organization is looking to support them.
Healthcare Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes, or HERO, is calling on all nurses, doctors, pharmacists, EMS personnel and other employees in health care settings to sign up for the registry and share their stories.
Dr. Adrian Hernandez, HERO Research Program Principal Investigator and vice dean for Clinical Research at Duke University, said the organization was created with two goals in mind.
“One is to understand what’s going on in the front lines of health care workers and hear their voices and concerns,” he said. The other is to develop strategies and interventions to protect them.
More than 5,000 health care workers have signed up for the HERO Registry since it launched last week. Those who are registered will be sent surveys asking about their backgrounds, experiences and what they’ve encountered, Hernandez said.
Health care workers are also invited to send in videos of themselves addressing issues critical to them, their families and their future. So far, the concerns include the lack of personal protective equipment, their health status and the potential to infect the people they love.
HERO also will use the registry to enroll health care workers in studies where they will have first access to drugs that could protect them from the coronavirus. The first study will focus on hydroxychloroquine and requires 15,000 participants.
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Out of the health care workers who signed up, Hernandez said 29% are nurses.
Angela Larson, a critical care clinical nurse specialist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, registered. She saw it as an opportunity to contribute to research that could help her and her colleagues going forward.
“I’m not surprised that it’s the majority of nursing that’s a part of this,” she said. “That’s what we want to do. We want to be a part of something and help.”
Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.