I Talked To A Florida ICU Nurse About COVID-19
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A Florida ICU Nurse About COVID-19, And We Cannot Stop Thanking Our Healthcare Workers

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

3089
I Spoke To A Florida ICU Nurse About COVID-19, And We Cannot Stop Thanking Our Healthcare Workers

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

While the rest of us are home on our phones, healthcare workers are on the coronavirus (COVID-19) front line every single day. They see what we read snippets of, quickly gaining the perspective that we couldn't fathom. That's why we're going to the root of the information — these healthcare workers who put their own safety at risk every single day.

Today, I sat down (virtually) with Dee, an ICU nurse in Orlando, Florida.

How long have you been a nurse? 

I have been an ICU nurse for three years.

What is your hospital's procedure in regard to COVID-19 patient care? 

Every patient is tested for COVID-19 on admission and prior to any surgical procedures. A patient is placed on COVID precautions and deemed a PUI (person under investigation) until test results reveal that they are negative. Every code blue event is conducted as if the patient was COVID-positive, which requires the usage of proper PPE due to the risk of aerosolization and exposure.

What is the protocol if you (or another nurse) were to show signs of infection? 

Every employee and visitor has to be screened before the entrance to the hospital and if an employee has shown signs or symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough, etc.) they are expected to follow up with the employee clinic and be tested. They are also required to be quarantined for a specific duration and be retested/cleared before returning to work.

Do you have enough PPE? 

My hospital has done an amazing job of making sure that employees have the proper gear that is necessary to care for this patient population. Due to the surgical department being temporarily closed for elective surgeries, they provided surgical scrubs that were sterilized after each use, along with half-mask respirators, face shields, surgical caps, etc., to the staff directly caring for COVID patients.

What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19? 

The biggest change for me was not being able to visit friends or family, due to my "exposure" to these patients. My way of coping from hardship from work is being able to socialize with my peers and partake in fun activities to decompress from stressful situations. It was a hard adjustment for me emotionally and mentally to have to deal with these conditions alone and not have the comfort of companionship available to me due to these circumstances. Thankfully, my hospital has provided its employees with available counselors and chaplains that we're able to pray and talk with the staff about ways we can cope with how we're dealing with what is transpiring.

If you were to describe your hospital's atmosphere in one word, what would it be? 

Evolving. There has been a multitude of changes and policy revisions that have been in effect since this pandemic. As new information comes available, the hospital executives have been taking the initiative to keep their employees safe, as well as, doing their best to adjust to the "new norm." As a nurse, some of these career characteristics include, "flexibility, teamwork, dependability and trust," which are qualities we have all been successfully presenting within these last few months of modifications.

How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19? 

My personal opinion about the news is that it can be very overwhelming to the public, especially to those without a medical background. The severity of the disease is as accurate as mentioned on the news.

Having to deal with these patients directly and witnessing the effect the virus had on each person was concerning. During that time of being a COVID nurse, there were days I went into work anxious about whether or not I would contract the disease, did I properly "don" and "doff" my PPE, did I wash my hands for 20 seconds before exiting the room, did I accidentally touch my face, did I sanitize my shoes or my phone before using it, and so many other thoughts that ran through my mind at the end of my shift.

What is one thing you wish you could tell the country about COVID-19? 

One thing that I wish I could tell the country is that the virus does not discriminate. I've had friends that lost family members from this virus, I've watched fellow healthcare workers battle this disease, I've witnessed and prayed with families crying over the death of their loved ones via Skype because visitors were not allowed on the COVID unit under any circumstances.

The year 2020 has been deemed "year of the nurse" because not only did we get a week of appreciation, but we received months of "thank yous" and support from our communities. The public was able to see for themselves via social media, that with the help of our medical team we not only "pass meds" or "give bed baths," but we put our lives on the line to make sure that you can safely return to your family.

Are there any stories of hope you can share with us?

@iamnursedee

We've had more success in being able to extubate and "downgrade" patients to a unit of a lesser acuity level, which implies that their health has improved. Our COVID patient population numbers decreased which allowed us to be able to only revert to one COVID specific unit.

What advice can you give us for staying as healthy as possible? 

Continue to follow CDC's recommendation in regards to social distancing, practice hand hygiene, wearing a mask in closed-in areas, continue to take the appropriate actions to build your immune system, disinfect commonly touched areas and items (cellphone, steering wheel, etc.), cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow, wash hands before touching your face, take off your outside clothes before sitting on your furniture.

What can citizens in your area do to help healthcare workers fight COVID-19? 

Working in that stressful environment causes you to be mentally and physically exhausted that it is easy to unconsciously neglect your own health. One thing that was very helpful and generous of our community was providing food for our staff. There were times that outside vendors would provide coffee and bagels for breakfast, lunch for the day shift, and dinner for the night shift. It was nice to know that we were appreciated and that our hard work was not being overlooked.

If you are a healthcare professional interested in sharing your story, please email lily.moe@theodysseyonline.com.

Shop our gift guide to treat the healthcare worker in your life!

As an Amazon Affiliate partner, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

From Your Site Articles
Report this Content
Health and Wellness

PCOS Is The Worst, But The Women Battling It Every Day Are Extraordinary

Women are learning new ways to assist hormonal health every single day.

559

Everyone knows someone who has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Maybe you don't know that you know, but with 10% of women in the United States having the autoimmune disease, it's more common than you'd think. The hormonal hell that many of these women go through is not only painful, but it's exhausting, with too few answers thanks to a lack of research and consistency.

This lack of research makes the disease rather "trial and error" for many women, as everyone's case is different and requires them to figure things out based on experimentation. Thankfully, the women of the world are good at fixing problems. While PCOS has caused me a lot of hurt, I've been blown away by the women I've met who continue to tackle this battle head-on, one day at a time.

Keep Reading... Show less

OK, listen, I also think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is cool. I had an Elizabeth Warren sign in my dorm room for a while. I'm currently interning for a congressional candidate. I'm very invested in politics. And supporting and liking certain politicians over others is a part of being invested in politics.

Keep Reading... Show less
Rebecca Alvarez

Rebecca Alvarez is many things: founder, sexologist, CEO, mentor, and more — as a Latina businesswoman, each of her endeavors is grounded in the strong principles of inclusivity and diversity, especially in sexual health and wellness. Bloomi is the product of her all of her shared passions, and with it she has fostered a community of like-minded, passionate women.

Keep Reading... Show less

There is not a consistent standard for health education in the United States. There are a lot of variables that go into this — what state a student lives in, whether they go to a public or private school, and the district's funding and priorities. These variables can be argued for any subject, not just health class. But as we continue to grow as a society, hopefully bettering our education system along the way, it's crucial to consider this often-forgotten element of a child's schooling.

Keep Reading... Show less

In March, the whole country shut down. School was online, extra-curriculars were canceled, and I found myself laying in bed all day every day. One day, as I was laying in bed contemplating my laziness, I decided that I wanted to do something to make myself more healthy. I was feeling so down on myself and my laziness so I decided to make a change.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10 Songs That Made It Onto My September Playlist

September is the month for Los Angeles natives and Australian music fans.

4383

The Neighbourhood, Bad Suns and The Driver Era are three Los Angeles bands that released songs this month. Not only was it a month for Los Angeles bands, but many Australian bands released new music — San Cisco's fourth studio album, Surf Trash single, Skegss single, and High Tropics single. I made new discoveries this month and was pleased by the amount of new music.

Read the listicle below to learn what came out this month in alternative rock music:

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Staying Active While You're Stuck Inside IS Possible, It Just Takes Some Small Steps

I know the last thing you want to think about right now is exercising, but it's time to put down the controller and put on your workout clothes.

1061

As someone who has also been living on a bed since March, I can guarantee you that working out has been the last thing on my priority list. It's pretty far down there, along with my motivation and brain cells I used to use for work. However, I have made an effort in the past couple of weeks to move up exercising to at least number three on my priorities list.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

I am not a licensed therapist or medical provider, therefore this article is not to be used as such. Instead, see it as an article to help guide you in a healthier direction when finding solutions to minimize your anger. If you are dealing with anger issues, please consult your primary care physician, or reach out to Better Help.

Everyone has dealt with anxiety, stress, and even anger at some point in their lives. For some, it's a daily battle with coping anger issues. In fact, it can be brought on by something rather random, or it could even be caused by a highly stressful job where you are dealing with incompetent coworkers and feeling rather under-appreciated. Although life tends to bring along this type of stress that piles on top of the already raging volcano inside, it is best to learn how to live with it in a healthy way.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Got Clean At A Very Young Age, And It Honestly Saved My Life

At 18, the world looked so much different for me than it did for most other 18-year-olds that I knew.

1048
Emmie Pombo

Going into rehab when I was 19 was hands down the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. My addiction started when I was around 17 and spiraled and spiraled out of control, as addictions always do. However, looking back, I'm so lucky my addiction started and ended when it did.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments