About DOD, Staffing Tips for Success | Apr 16 2020

Working as a consultant dietitian on the frontlines in NYC

Temporary hospital - Image via Crothall

Temporary hospitals are using temporary dietitians.

In COVID-19 hotspots like New York City, temporary hospitals are opening up in response to the need for more critical care beds, and some of these sites are reaching out to Dietitians On Demand for their temporary staffing needs.

These new temporary facilities mean more clinical nutrition staff are needed, and fast. In New York City, NYC Health + Hospitals has 100 temporary beds already open for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients, and an additional 240 beds are expected to open this week, according to a press release from the hospital.

Being a Consultant Dietitian During COVID-19

So, what’s it like working as a temporary dietitian at a temporary hospital?

“We’re just taking everything one day a time,” said Dietitians On Demand consultant dietitian Kelly Ahearn, MS RDN, CDN. In just her first week working at a temporary hospital in New York City, Kelly said things have changed a lot.

“When we first got here we were told it would be a low acuity hospital and non-COVID patients, but that’s changed because many patients are now confirmed COVID,” Kelly said.

Along with a team of three other dietitians, Kelly works from a conference room to limit exposure. She said the team is great and from the very beginning she felt welcomed.

Most of the patients they’re seeing are stable and not requiring mechanical ventilation, however “seeing” is a loose term. Kelly said her days are spent writing tube feeding orders, monitoring her patients from afar to see how well they’re tolerating the tube feeds and making changes as needed.

“I’m doing a lot of reading to try and get to know the patients through the notes, their labs, their meds and calling the nurses when we can.” Kelly said. “Everyone is aware of the state that this whole city is in, so everyone is patient and helping out with nutrition screens when they can. I don’t feel the stress that everyone talks about.”

Being a Consultant Dietitian with Dietitians On Demand

With regard to working as a consultant dietitian for Dietitians On Demand, Kelly said from job offer to her first day on the job everyone was organized and diligent in helping her get ready to step into the role.

“I felt that because it was an urgent role, everyone worked quickly to help get me started,” Kelly said.

As for what the rest of the assignment holds, Kelly remains happy and positive. “Next week could be something new, we have no idea,” she said.

As many hotspots get closer to their COVID-19 peak, the demand for temporary hospitals and temporary staff will also peak. Any critical care site looking for temporary dietitians is encouraged to contact Dietitians On Demand to get a coverage request rolling. In these unprecedented times, trust a company that was built for a crisis. With fast, friendly service and a nationwide network, we’ll find the perfect fit for any facility.

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