I’ve been reluctant to post much about COVID since testing positive back in March. Some may know that I have since gone from one side of “being in the hospital with COVID,” to the other, now working as an RN on a COVID ward. And to be completely honest, it’s exactly where I wanted to be when I was hired. Some of my reluctance to post anything was to avoid political debates, but some was also because I felt bad that I started my career after the pandemic had already been delcared. I tagged in if you will, while many of my coworkers have been working hard since day one. I feel new and inexperienced, and that maybe my experiences and feelings are less legitimate because I started part way through the first wave. People would look at what I wrote and think, “Your opinion doesn’t count; you missed the start, and are new to nursing, you don’t really understand the situation.” And maybe that’s true, and I’m only tired and falling behind so much now because I am newer, slower, and not working as efficiently. Maybe more experienced RNs could do my tasks twice as fast.
My coworkers are amazing, and help me when they can. But I also see them struggling as well. We are all beyond tired. We work short, take shortened breaks, if we get a break at all, and can’t eat or drink for hours with our supply of N95s still being restricted. We are hot and sweaty from wearing our PPE all day. Yes, I know there are other jobs out there that do worse for longer, and I have a greater appreciation for what they do. We a rarely sit, not even to chart, and we often have to stay late after our shift ends do that. We have high patient turnover, constantly admitting and transferring patients off the unit. We have an increase in critically ill patients, and we are seeing more palliative patients that are dying under our care while we try and keep them as comfortable as possible. On that note, a big shout out to all the RTs working alongside and supporting us, especially when our patients start to deteriorate. We spend more time on the phone with families giving updates since visitors are restricted, and have less time for patient care. We flip between days and nights, working overtime to fill shifts, trying to not leave our teammates shorthanded.
Our numbers aren’t high like in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean we aren’t working hard, or that COVID isn’t making people sick. It really bothers me when I hear people calling it a “scamdemic,” and claiming healthcare workers are inflating numbers, and that nurses sit around with empty beds doing nothing and just “dance on TikTok in their scrubs.” Maybe they do that on other units, but not ours. I’m not even sure I know what TikTok really is, and I’m pretty sure that I don’t care to know. But what I do know is that our ward is full, our ICU is full, not all with COVID, but we have enough. All this being said, there is no other floor I would rather be on right now. I am proud to say I have worked the COVID floors during the pandemic. I work with some pretty amazing and caring nurses, RTs, doctors, clerks, aides, and cleaners. And we have the most supportive OT and PT working alongside us as well, and I am sure everyone on the floor would say they are proud to be doing what they are doing right now too. From this new RN, thank you to everyone that has supported our nurses and hospital staff during the pandemic.