Seven nurses arrive at IMC to help staff during COVID-19

Seven registered nurses from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs arrived at Iberia Medical Center’s main campus recently as part of a program to assist in staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The nurses are scheduled to be in New Iberia for two weeks. IMC applied for the assistance with help from the state Department of Health.

The Iberia Medical Center staff recently welcomed seven nurses to its main campus.

The registered nurses are from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs System and are part of a federal staffing assistance initiative in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Iberia Medical Center is the only hospital in Region 4 to receive staffing.

The administration at IMC became aware of the federal staffing assistance program and the application process several weeks ago thanks to the Louisiana Department of Health. As part of the application process, hospitals statewide were required to describe how the augmented staff would be utilized.

“We were able to submit the application for staffing assistance very quickly and were considered to be a favorable candidate because we are the sole acute care provider in the parish and not part of a larger health system,” IMC Chief Executive Officer Dionne Viator said.

The administration learned in late July that its request had been approved. The nurses arrived on Monday and, after an orientation on Tuesday, began work with the hospital’s nursing staff.

“(They) will be at IMC for two weeks,” said IMC Chief Nursing Officer Sandy Morein. “They are supplementing the nursing staff at IMC in critical areas. Because of their existing experience, they were quickly acclimated to the nursing units. They are wonderful examples of the clinical expertise of the VA system, and we appreciate their service.”

The nurses hail from across the country, from upstate New York to Idaho to Topeka, Kansas.

As part of their official welcome to south Louisiana, they received treats like pralines and Tabasco pepper sauce.

“We are grateful to the Louisiana Department of Health, Region 4 and Iberia Parish Government for their involvement in the staffing assistance approval process,” Viator said.

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