COVID-19, like many others, as affected my day to day life drastically. Fortunately, I have yet to see a friend or family member come in contact with the virus. I've been paying extreme attention to the news and felt like many people right now aren't taking this seriously. That's when I was put in contact with Trinity, a nursing assistant in OKC.
How long have you been a nurse's assistant?
I've been in the medical field since 2017, but I've been working in the current hospital I'm at for about a month.
What department do you work in?
I work on a medical-surgery floor. I care for people that just finished getting surgery.
What is your hospital's procedure in regards to COVID-19 patient care?
If a patient has or might have COVID-19, we have to call the lab and get the test sent to our floor. Before entering their rooms, we have to put on a faceguard, PPE, another mask, a gown, and gloves.
What is the protocol if you (or a colleague) shows signs of infection?
If any of us show signs, we have to take our temperatures and get tested as soon as possible. If the test comes back positive, we have to be moved to the floor designated for COVID-19 patients so we can be quarantined.
Do you have enough PPE?
No, we don't have enough. If we run out, we have to call and have some sent to us (often). There's also a rumor going around that hospital personnel is keeping track of how much PPE our floor uses, but I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe to make sure we're not taking them for ourselves outside of work.
What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19?
We have to wear masks practically 24/7, especially at work. When we test patients for COVID-19, we require them to wear masks until we get their results back. If they're negative, they can take the mask off and if they're positive, we move them to the COVID-19 floor for quarantine. Since patients don't truly understand why we make them wear masks while waiting on results, they tend to get mad.
Describe your hospital's atmosphere.
It's very fun and laid back usually. It can be frustrating though because now that we have to wear masks all the time, it's difficult to talk to elderly patients. Since they're hard of hearing, they can hear or make out what we're saying all the time and the masks make it worse.
How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19? Accurate? Downplaying the situation?
To be honest, I've stopped watching the news when it involves COVID-19 because it depends on what network you watch. Certain news stations are guilty of having a biased opinion, especially politically, and I think they're doing the same thing with COVID-19 to push an agenda. On one hand, yes, I truly believe they're downplaying it and not telling us everything. But on the other hand, they make it sound like it's a bigger deal than it is. When it comes to COVID-19, news coverage honestly can't be trusted because you never know if they're telling the truth or being biased.
What is one thing you wish you could tell the country about COVID-19?
Not all healthcare workers are getting hazard pay, even though we work with COVID-19 cases every day. Technically, I'm not on the "COVID floor" but the hospital is instructing us to test our patients just in case, and instead of testing being done in the ER like we were told, practically everyone is having to contribute to the process and put themselves at risk. A lot of us have families to support and if they're going to potentially put us in harm's way and go against the plan, we should get some type of hazard pay just in case something goes wrong so we can still support our families.
How is you personal life impacted by COVID-19?
It's just a constant worry. Yesterday was only the second time I've physically walked into a store since all this started. Aside from that, I've been using a store app for pick-up or Amazon.
Are there any stories of hope you can share with us?
Not really at our location, so here's a PSA:
Just wear a mask, do what you're told, and stop acting out because you don't like something. If you don't want to wear a mask, that's fine, but there's no need to act crazy and use vulgar language toward people who are trying to be safe by protecting themselves and their families.
What advice can you give us for staying as healthy as possible?
Always practice social distancing, especially if you're in public at stores or somewhere that's usually crowded. Wash your hands, too! I get that this may be a hard concept for some people that don't practice basic hygiene or have the "I'm invincible" mentality, but I promise it's not as hard as you think and you'd be doing everyone a huge favor.