I am an essential worker. I may not be a doctor, but I am essential. So are the housekeepers, the maintenance team, and the nurses.
I am an EMCT, or emergency multi-care tech.
I basically do everything besides medicate patients. I splint extremities, insert catheters, draw blood, take EKGs, perform CPR, etc. The emergency department would not be able to function without the techs. The nurses just don't have the time to do all that techs do.
Working in the ER is much different now. It's more mellow while also being more intense...if that makes sense. There isn't an overwhelming amount of patients, but the patients that we do get are usually critical. We always have to be on our toes.
We are enduring these 8 realities every day now that COVID has taken over.
1. We are drenched in sweat at the end of our 12-hour shift
Every time we have to go into a possible COVID room, we have put on goggles, gloves, and a disposable suit. Not to mention, we are wearing our masks for the whole shift. Those disposable blue gowns get HOT. If you aren't drenched by the time you take it off, you did it wrong.
2. We may not get a lunch break
Lots of times, the workers in the ER are stuck with critical patients, taking care of incoming ambulances, or helping their patients. Our patients come before us. If we don't get to eat because someone codes, it's totally okay.
3. We are masked 24/7
Just like most of the world, a mask is now permanently a part of us. I even tried changing my Apple Face ID to my face with a mask...it didn't work. Anyway, being masked the whole shift is very annoying. The material is very itchy and the ear loops hurt our ears. Thank you to everyone who has donated headbands! They help immensely.
4. We have to tell patients bad news on a daily basis
This is normal for us, but recently we've had to tell more people more bad news. It isn't fun letting someone know that they have coronavirus. It will never be fun.
5. We have people yell at us and get mad for the littlest things
Quarantine makes us all crazy. The staff snap at each other a lot (out of love), and patients don't like waiting for results. Everyone is antsier. That's ok though, we love them anyway.
6. We can't allow visitors, and it's really hard telling patients that
Due to COVID-19, there can be absolutely no visitors. Minors can only have one parent guardian with them. I hate telling patients and family members that they can't see each other.
7. Sometimes patients steal masks and wipes, so we have to hide them and ration them out to employees
This is unfortunate and I wish it didn't happen, but it does. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but stealing? Really? We have everything hidden now and are trying to conserve the personal protective equipment (PPE) that we have.
8. We have to screen every person who comes in the door, and many people are not the nicest
"Any travel outside the US? Any contact with COVID-19 positive patients? Travel to high-risk areas? Any cough, fever, or shortness of breath? Let me check your temperature."
We have to ask every single person who walks in these questions. Most of them are fine with it, but a few don't want to talk to the screeners.
All in all, be nice to us, please. We go through a lot to keep you guys safe. We always will. It's who we are.