The United States is one giant block of coronavirus (COVID-19) news right now. You can't scroll through Twitter, listen to the radio, or turn on the TV without seeing or hearing coverage of the pandemic that is taking a toll on our world. We're quarantined in our homes with lots of time on our hands — something that has clearly become an issue for many of our neighbors. We miss baseball! And going to grab a beer at the dive bar on the corner! And we all REALLY need a haircut!
All this to say, our first world problems in this situation are nothing compared to the battle our healthcare workers are facing every day they show up for work.
"When you walk into the hospital, you immediately have your temperature checked, then you are given a mask. The only problem is, we only get one mask for the entire shift. Personally, I also wear a hair net when I am in the hospital, but again — only one per shift."
Julia Lyon, a patient care technician in Pittsburgh, PA shares how her hospital, while incredibly focused, is often short on personal protective equipment. They still continue to show up and do their jobs, but they recognize the risk they're taking.
Some nurses are taking to Twitter, urging individuals to stay home so everyone has a better chance at staying safe.
As a nurse who has now met my first, of soon to be many, confirmed #COVID19 patient, the thing that scared me most about it all, was all the potential symptoms you've heard about, there was none of them at all. Take this seriously people, anyone can have it.— Bry (@bryonyoftarth) March 21, 2020
STAY. AT. HOME.
From stories of hope to tales of horror, healthcare workers all over the nation are sharing their personal experiences with COVID-19. Not only is it helpful to get a better understanding of different hospitals across the country, but it's also horrifying. The moral of the story, no matter where you're riding out this quarantine, our healthcare professionals know best — better than your next-door neighbor, college friend, or even the evening news. They're on the front lines, why wouldn't we listen up?
"Social distancing is essential right now. You may not be worried about your health, but we need to think about our vulnerable population and work to protect their health."
Taylor Vlasic, a nurse in Pittsburgh, PA is one of thousands of healthcare workers urging the public to stay home and follow the procedures that have been put into place. This is not to say that healthcare workers don't understand the struggles you're facing at home — no one is having a good time being stuck in their living room — but they do realize the need to prioritize public health over hitting up your favorite restaurant for happy hour. If nothing else, stay put for the people who are risking their lives for you and your loved ones.
"I have had several of the patients ask me, "Are people getting better from this?" and "Am I going to die?" The hardest part for me is that I don't have a good answer for them. Every patient is different, and sometimes I have a strong feeling that the patient is not going to make it but as a nurse, it's not in my scope of practice to have that conversation with them. In my head, I know that they probably only have a few days left to live and they probably won't be able to say goodbye to their families and spouses in person, but I try to stay as optimistic and positive with them as possible to give them the best chance of recovery as I can."
Brianna Hansen, an IMCU nurse in Portland, Oregon feels an added sense of dread because of coronavirus. Watching patients die without family or friends by their side is heartbreaking. Our doctors and nurses are not only their caregivers but now they are also the last to wish them well. The responsibility they are asked to fulfill is continuing to grow heavier, but they're still taking the load with a determined, kind smile on their faces.
The future nurses of our country are watching from the sidelines, wanting nothing more than to actively participate in the career they've chosen to pursue. In the meantime, they're the biggest cheerleaders for the men and women who are actively working in healthcare, advocating for their safety and health.
This first-year doctor is jumping into the deep end, working in her hospital's COVID unit. Like many of us, she didn't expect a pandemic to overwhelm our lives this year — but here she is, following through on the oath she took.
"Even with this tragedy unfolding around us, you can see the good in people. It makes you realize the sort of individuals who are going into healthcare and makes you really proud to both be a part of the field and hopeful for the future of medicine. There are a lot of budding leaders who are going to change the world."
Alexander Dash, a med student at Mount Sinai in New York City, is studying his future profession in the epicenter of coronavirus. He and his peers are not passively sitting by — they are still assisting in the behind-the-scenes work, pharmacy deliveries, and stocking hospital supplies. The future doctors of America are already showing up to get work done.
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