Innovative Partnership Between Intensive Care Unit Nurses and Therapists to Care for Patients With COVID-19

Author(s): Sara M. Reese, PhD, MPH, CIC, Jennifer Johnson, MSN, RNC-OB, Jennifer Edwards, MSPT, Michelle Oliveti, MSPT Susan Buszkiewic, BSN, RN, CCRN

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Feb 01, 2024

Topics: Collaboration, COVID-19, Staffing

Role: Staff

Added to Collection

Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

In response to the critical care needs of patients with COVID-19 and the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ICU nurses, a level I trauma hospital deployed physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OT) to partner with ICU nurses to help provide daily care for severely ill patients with COVID-19. The group, known as the special operations (SO) team, had 3 specific objectives: 1) to aid the nurses caring for the high-acuity patients with COVID-19 in the ICU; (2) to make the available PTs and OTs more productive; and (3) to use the clinical expertise of PTs and OTs to improve outcomes among patients with COVID-19. This article describes the implementation and positive patient, nursing, PT and OT outcomes of the SO program.


  • Describe the development and implementation of a special team of therapists who aided ICU nurses during the first critical wave of COVID.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of the team through hours saved for nurses as well as number of activities performed per day over time.
  • Describe the perception of the team through comments and quotes from both the nursing staff and therapists.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012. AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing (CBRN), California Provider number CEP 1036. This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours.

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