Supply Chain Nurse Helps Keep Everyone Safe From Coronavirus

An important link in hospital supply chain during COVID-19

You may have never considered before what it takes to supply a health care system the size of Scripps. For example, how do the clinical teams have the gowns, gloves and goggles they wear? Where do the thermometers, HEPA filters and respirators come from? Now with Scripps on the front lines of fighting COVID-19, there is an unprecedented strain on the system with the increased use of supplies and need for specialized equipment. Liz Eisenberg, RN, and the Scripps supply chain team are working 24/7 to ensure we have the supplies we need to care for patients and keep everyone safe.

“Prior to COVID-19, we kept three to five days of inventory on hand,” says Eisenberg. “Now, we place bulk buys of 250,000 to 500,000 of certain items, which was unheard of before. In some cases, when we can’t increase existing product orders, we have to look for alternatives.”

“From the personal protective equipment to facial and hygiene care, people want to take care of us.”

And that’s where Eisenberg uses a hands-on approach, literally, to test items that are substitute orders and donations from the community.

“Every donation I put my hands on. I read the labels. I touch it. I wear it,” she says. “Our team performs a quality assurance test on it to make sure it is really safe and equivalent. If it can’t go to the clinical staff, then it goes to engineering, environmental services or security teams that can use the product. We make sure it gets to the areas that can use it most.”

Eisenberg adds that every donation counts. The walls of the supply chain office are dotted with notes and artwork that accompany many of the community donations, thanking and providing words of encouragement to the Scripps heroes providing lifesaving care.

“The widespread generosity of the community is overwhelming,” Eisenberg says. “When we have a calling that we need a supply, the donations pour in. From the personal protective equipment to facial and hygiene care, people want to take care of us.”

As a nurse on the supply chain team, ensuring staff have the right tools to do the job is what makes her job rewarding. 

“I am proud of our team and the work that we do every day,” she adds. “I may not be at the bedside, but my family knows that my role as a nurse in supply chain connects the product to people who need it.”

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