We asked. You answered. As an online community committed to nurses and healthcare providers, we hope that ModernNurse can serve as a safe space to discuss, vent, share and express the wide range of emotions we are experiencing during this unprecedented time.
We want to hear from you! How are YOU doing? How are you balancing work with your family sheltering in place at home? What are your fears? What are you grateful for right now? What has made you laugh?
Thank you to all of our readers that have shared their stories, feelings, frustrations and tips. Below are a few of our top comments. Keep on reading and then share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you to the nurses and healthcare professionals around the world. We will win the battle against COVID-19. We will get through this, together.
"I’m fairly certain that my experience of recent has been true with every other nurse who reads this. I have never seen staff as physically and mentally just pushed to this level. Most of us are doing 14 to 15 hour days. Protective equipment is at a premium and under lock and key. Our docs are completely perplexed because of the way this disease is presenting so differently from day-to-day.
Some things I thought were impossible just seem to happen. When I am assigned to charge, the biggest struggle is keeping up morale with staff and patients. Remembering to breathe is my biggest challenge…and maintaining some kind of calm.
God bless us all…stay well and stay safe." --Michael
"I was at home recovering from COVID 19 and at 0700 on March 31st one of my colleagues called me. She said, I am in the parking lot but I just have to call you and tell you that I have been thinking about all night. I need to pray with you before I get to the unit. I was so touched and appreciated her call so much. There are no words to express how this made me feel. Suffice it to say my spirit was lifted." --Sonia
"I am RN and it all became serious last weekend for me. My onset of severe a sore throat and cough symptoms were consistent with early Covid-19. I decided to be tested as I don’t want to expose my patients and chose to isolate them. Going through a drive-up testing site was a bit difficult as I was alone and that reality that I might die alone really hit me hard. I knew how the advanced stage of this virus would end with ventilation and possible death without family by my side! I spent a five-day isolation with my symbols getting a bit worse but never a high fever or body aches. My breathing was tight but not short of breath. My MD called in an antibiotic believing it was a bronchitis )which I have never had in my entire life), so it was worrisome to think she was wrong! Finally, Friday arrives and of course, I miss the first call with results. I freaked out as this just took me over the edge after a stressful week telling my adult children I might have COVID!
Blessed to say it was negative but please realize even being tested caused such anxiety. I have been a nurse for over 40 years and was never once afraid yet, this virus scared me. Know that even just your experience from being tested can bring the reality of your possible death to the forefront of your consciousness! Please pray for all health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic. I was blessed not to be positive this time. The reality is I may need to be retested as I will be back at my job next week. This virus will be ever-present for a few more months and threaten us all until a vaccine can make it stop in its path of destruction! Be safe!" --Nurse Barbara
"Never in my 27 yrs of nursing that I cried and cried, scared, hopeless in this time of crisis related to a virus. Flu season is nothing. Just last week, it hits me and my coworkers. The numbers were up, our PPE’s are limited, I have to transfer my patient to ICU. Then ICU capacity maxed out. The ethics committee has to be involved to determine who will get that ICU bed and ventilator. The MedEvac had flown all day in my hospital to bring the intubated patients to the mothership hospital with dwindling ICU beds. My ears hurt from my masks. My face got all these marks too. I’m breathing the same air from my open mouth the whole time. I made sure I eat and drink to nourish my body to survive my 12 hours shift. I yelled at some nurses who recklessly forgot to wear N95 on their COVID patients. I reassure my patients and their family, they cried in panic. I cried secretly in the corner. I have to be strong in front of everybody. I told my fellow nurses we can not quit, that’s why we are nurses, we are special. We can not abandon the sick people. We can not abandon each other. I know we can get infected or worst die. I prayed every day. The last words my patient say to their family before wheeling him to ICU “I love you”, brought tears in my eyes and we all know what that means…" --Mylla
"Hundreds of daffodils bloomed in my front yard 3 weeks ago and still stand! Very unusual! They are a month early and have never lasted this long. Everyone is out walking and enjoys them. God has a plan. Always." --Debbie
"Just a little tip. Wipe down your groceries before u put them in your vehicle in your own bags. Double bag fruits veggies etc. and discard outer bag. Wipe hand area of inside bag and tie shut. Sanitize you’re hands. Once home , place veggies, fruit etc straight into sink. Leave plastic /paper bags outside in recycle bin. Wash your hands again after washing stuff in sink!" --Nancy
"It was our Grandsons fourth birthday yesterday and my wife and I got to Duo with him and his mother and sisters last night…his Daddy is our son who works on the North Slope of Alaska in the oil industry. His wife has been home alone with the four Grandchildren for 5 weeks during this whole thing. They are holding up but it has been soooo hard on all of them. Our Grandson asked “Grandpa, Is this going to be my last birthday?” He was perplexed and could not seem to wrap his head around it. We about fell apart and his mother told us he has asked her that question 3 separate times and that it was starting to scare her.
His Daddy was devastated to hear that question coming from his son and not being able to be there for him and all of them. We could not pick him up and reassure him…he has heard so much and picks up on everything. He is at that “so literal” time in his young life. We simply had to hug on him through the phone and try to comfort him, his sisters and his mother. God Help Us to love every moment of every day and treasure and be thankful for our families and His help….on the West Coast right now in a place that is not being hit too hard with all of the death and sickness yet. That man, that woman, that person perfect in Christ Jesus right now…our prayers and hearts are going out for and to you all right now…." --Tyke
"Hospital RN here, all our patients going to SNF/rehab must be tested for Covid 2 days before expected discharge. Can’t be discharged till results received. We have our temperature taken in lobby before going to our units, screened for symptoms too. We get a surgical mask that we are supposed to wear at all times and must use the mask for 2 days to conserve supplies. We no longer have VRE and MRSA nares patients on contact precautions, just standard precautions. The N95s are multiple use, ok’d to go between covid positive patients but NOT between positive patients and rule out patients. Everything we learned about infection prevention is not in practice as they are trying to prevent spread of covid while preserving PPE stock.
Communication is essential to prevent mistakes. Stress is taking its toll on everyone. Lots of phone calls from family members wanting updates on their loved ones. Everyone trying to figure out how to protect their families when the leave work. Hopefully positive changes will come after everything is evaluated once the crisis is over, and preparedness becomes a priority. Governor signed order that nursing students with 1 semester completed can be granted temporary 90 day CNA licenses to help during the crisis, emergency licensing rules for out of state nurses to practice in state, and big telemedicine push right now. So many interim measures being implemented to try to keep things going." --Catherine
"I once was a CCRN and CRRN. Now I work in group homes. We have to wear our masks for 2 WEEKS! The most recent admission cohort (re)starts the 14 day cycle! One caregiver per room for the entire shift. That includes meals, housekeeping, disinfecting, etc. No exceptions. Keep the curtain pulled. If the weather will allow, open the window.
The CDC has a great web site! Study it!" --Debbie
I’m an essential worker. I’m a nurse. I’m writing you my story not for accolades or for you to clap for me(although I appreciate those gestures immensely)… but for my own sanity. I’ve stopped sharing my concerns, my fatigue, my depression with my significant other because I’m afraid of scaring him. I dont want my stepchildren to hear me cry because they are already afraid of me. They’re afraid because i work with ‘those people’. I dont hug them – just in case I contracted COVID-19 from one of my patients. I’m living in a nightmare of a science fiction movie.
I’m a nurse that usually works with post-surgical patients. A standard job I’ve been doing now for the last 13 years. I feel I can do it with my eyes closed. I’m rarely flustered. I’ve been an RN for 25 years doing Emergency and Urgent Care before this position, and always felt confident walking into my job. That confidence is now replaced with fear, insomnia, and nausea.
There aren’t many surgical patients to take care of anymore. Only surgeries deemed URGENT may take place for the reason of preserving supplies and decrease the potential spread of COVID-19. Having a decrease in patients meant a decrease in work, so we were encouraged to work in other areas of the hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. I did that. I went to the ICU and saw things that will never leave my mind. Young, formally healthy men and women dying alone. Suffocating through tubes. With no family to hold their hands. Families saying their last good byes over FaceTime. People getting last right over the phone. These imagines are horrifying and real. They are not Fake News or the media exaggerating reality for ratings. These are people dying.
I now work in a Field Hospital. You may have seen the images of Military created hospitals in the NY and NJ area made to help with the overflow of COVID-19 patients. They are mass building with hundreds of ‘rooms’ made by curtains and decorated only with a metal flat cot, thin plastic mattress, a metal folding chair, and a table. I care for these patients in layers of protective gear with my name scrawled in black marker on a plastic gown covering. I hope they can see my smiling at them beneath my N95 mask, surgical mask, and face shield. I pray for them as their oxygen levels dip into the 70’s or 80’s with just a short trip to the bathroom. They’re gasping for air. And they are scared for themselves …. I’m scared for them. I know the next step of our capabilities would mean a ventilator. I don’t like to think about that.
I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m sad. Im an essential worker and can’t stay home. I’m not sure how I’m getting through this. I feel like I’m on autopilot… doing it because I have to. It’s my job. I dont have any words of wisdom about getting enough water, meditating, getting fresh air… I wish I did. My therapist says my feelings are ‘normal’. Another part of the ‘new normal’. I guess I would say I’m getting through this by hoping one day soon this will magically end. I know that’s not realistic, or even possible. But it’s what’s getting ME through. It’s the ONLY thing getting me through.
Thank you to ALL essential workers keeping us safe and functioning. --Randi