In response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York State mandated that all hospitals double the capacity of their adult intensive care units In this facility, resources were mobilized to increase from 104 to 283 beds.


To create and implement a 3-hour curriculum to prepare several hundred non–critical care staff nurses to manage critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019.


Critical care nursing leaders and staff developed and implemented a flexible critical care nursing curriculum tailored to the diverse experience, expertise, and learning needs of non–critical care nursing staff who were being redeployed to critical care units during the surge response to the pandemic. Curricular elements included respiratory failure and ventilator management, shock and hemodynamics, pharmacotherapy for critical illnesses, and renal replacement therapy. A skills station allowed hands-on practice with common critical care equipment.


A total of 413 nurses completed training within 10 days. As of June 2020, 151 patients with coronavirus disease 2019 still required mechanical ventilation at our institution, and 7 of 10 temporary intensive care units remained operational. Thus most of the nurses who received this training continued to practice critical care. A unique feature of this curriculum was the tailored instruction, adapted to learners’ needs, which improved the efficiency of content delivery.


Program evaluation is ongoing. As recovery and restoration proceed and normal operations resume, detailed feedback from program participants and patient care managers will help the institution maintain high operational readiness should a second wave of critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 be admitted.

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