Governor Gavin Newsom is calling on all medical professionals, whether they are retired or students in the process of getting their degrees to help the state combat the coronavirus outbreak.
News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay spoke with some local healthcare professionals who are answering that call for help.
"If you're a nursing school student, a medical school student, we need you. If you've just retired in the last few years, we need you,” Newsom said in a press conference this week.
Rosalinda Garcia is a licensed vocational nurse in the Coachella Valley who is one of the over 25,000 people answering the Governor’s call for help.
“I saw the Governor doing this so I right away went on the website, I applied and now I’m just waiting for an email,” Garcia told News Channel 3.
“We encourage you to take a look at that healthcorps.ca.gov website. Five simple steps. We'll ask you basic questions and we'll help you with your relicensing, we'll help you with the protocols and processes to get you up and running and get you out the door so that you can support the needs of people of the state of California," Newsom said.
We asked Garcia why she feels called to help out.
“I believe this is God’s calling and I believe if you use personal protective equipment you’re going to be okay," she said. "When I saw this I thought, oh my gosh let’s do this. There’s not a doubt in my heart, I think I’ll be fine. You know, going out there, helping wherever I can,” she added.
The positions needed are:
- Physicians (MD, DO), including medical students
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Nurses (RN, LVN, CNA), including nursing students
- Behavioral health professionals (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, LCSW, LMFT, LPCC)
- Respiratory therapists
- Medical assistants
- Emergency medical technicians
Dr. Randall McCafferty, a Neurosurgeon at Desert Regional Medical Center is serving as a liaison to Riverside County helping with efforts in coordinating the extra help when and if they arrive at the hospital.
“The COVID-19 virus doesn’t only attack our community, it also attacks our healthcare professionals so we may lose our supply so identifying that supply and refilling our hospitals that may be losing capable entities will be crucial,” he told News Channel 3.
To be eligible for coronavirus emergency medical staffing roles, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or over
- Be eligible to work in the United States
- Have a valid driver’s license or passport, and a social security card
- Have a valid California License for clinical practice (if you are a MD, DO, etc.)
- OR are a medical student or nursing student
- Have no negative licensure/certification actions (for licensed/certified professionals)
“We’re going to need each and every player to make sure our community is safe,” Dr. McCafferty said.
Once you’ve applied, officials will review your skills, experience and location to see where you are most needed. You’ll receive pay and malpractice insurance.
“I definitely encourage anyone that’s willing and can do this to try and help because the need is there from what we hear so if it’s in their heart I would encourage them to do it. We need to help out some way or another,” Garcia said.
If you are someone in the medical field that wants to help fight COVID-19 you can find the application here: https://healthcarevolunteers.ca.gov/agreement.php