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COVID-19 Prep: USC Trains Surgical Residents In ICU Nursing Skills

Ngo Le, a student medical assistant at International Community Health Services in Seattle, cleans a door handle. Karen Ducey/Getty Images
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As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, there's a growing concern about how hospitals will deal with a potential wave of patients needing critical care. That includes backfilling medical staff.

USC's Keck School of Medicine is equipping surgical residents to step in. On Friday, it trained more than 50 of them in essential nursing skills for intensive care.

Dr. Kenji Inaba, who leads the school's surgical residency program, said while the residents are already trained in surgical procedures, they weren't ready to step into the shoes of a critical care nurse.

"None of them, when we tapped into them to find out, could hang an IV bag or adjust a ventilator," he said. "So our ICU director put together a curriculum — IV medications, intravenous access, how to hang these lines, how to get the vents going."

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USC is considering providing the training to medical students as well.