Nursing faculty assist with opening of outpatient COVID treatment center
School of Health faculty played a supportive role in the Sept. 23 opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment center for COVID-19 patients located in the Mangilao Senior Center. As the center is the island’s first to offer the treatment on an outpatient basis, the University of Guam faculty were called upon to refresh the medics on the specific administration method.
“The medics are well-trained and have been administering this therapy already at Guam Regional Medical City,” said Margaret Hattori-Uchima, dean of the UOG School of Health. “But this new facility is set up to treat patients without being admitted, so we provided a refresher course on subcutaneous injections, which can be done on an outpatient basis.”
The new center treats high-risk residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. The goal is to lessen the severity of their symptoms and prevent hospitalization.
It is a collaborative effort led by the Guam National Guard and the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
“This amazing collaboration provides an opportunity to treat greater numbers of COVID-19 patients to prevent the disease from getting worse,” Hattori-Uchima said. “We're definitely trying to help our community in meaningful ways given the seriousness of the pandemic.”
The training was conducted by Hattori-Uchima, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing and is a registered nurse; Assistant Professor Anna Varghese, who holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice and is a registered nurse; and Capt. Frances Nicdao of the Guam National Guard, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner who graduated from the UOG nursing program.
The training included skills instruction on the subcutaneous, or SQ, injection method of monoclonal antibodies — laboratory-produced proteins designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. The monoclonal antibody regimen is authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Following completion of the training, the medics received Certificates of Competency.
The University of Guam will continue to assist in refresher trainings needed by others
who are tasked to respond during the pandemic.
In addition to providing patient care, the center could also offer a great learning opportunity for students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UOG, Hattori-Uchima said.
“It would benefit our students to observe the care being given and would help prepare them for this and future pandemics,” she said. “We take our role as public servants seriously and want to do our part while also ensuring our students have relevant learning experiences.”
The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday, for patients referred by a doctor or from the COVID-19 community testing site in Tiyan.