I’ve always wanted to have a career within healthcare. I landed into the field of nursing and learned the vast array of directions/opportunities in which it could take me. I got to experience many different types of nursing while in the program. After all these experiences there was one thing I knew for sure; I wanted to be in the ER. A year ago, I took my first position out of school as a registered nurse in the ER at Hurley Medical Center. It’s crazy to look back at the last year and to see how far I’ve come. I can thank my team for that. There has never been a moment I have felt alone. If anyone sees you drowning in your core [four rooms per nurse for patient care], they would be there to help. Anytime you have a question or are unsure of something, there is always someone willing to help. My team is like a second family. I’m so thankful for that.
I never would have imagined I would be facing a pandemic during my first year as a nurse. As a nurse you know you will be exposed to many diseases/viruses. I’ve never been afraid of that. Covid has been different though. There are so many unknowns. I’ve had patients as young as myself go on ventilators. One patient in particular that I remember didn’t make it. I couldn’t help wondering when I would be the next to test positive since the chances are much higher while being constantly exposed to Covid 19 patients at work. A few weeks ago, I started to feel “off”. I got tested and sure enough I came back positive. I wasn’t surprised. I am surrounded by this virus every day that I walk into work.
I was asked if there was a moment I was most afraid after testing positive. There was a point where if I left the couch to walk across the room I became short of breath and had to lay back down. I can’t say I wasn’t afraid when that happened, but all the love and support I received from my friends and family helped me to stay positive and fight through it.
I would have to say many of my happiest moments I’ve had in the last year working in Hurley’s ER involve the people I work alongside. It makes a difficult job easier when you have coworkers that can come together as a team and take on anything together. I knew they were my type of people from their sick sense of humor, to their drive to seek excitement. We can somehow find humor in any situation, no matter how shitty it is (literally).
One of the hardest things during this time has been staying away from my family. I knew I had to stop seeing them early on when I started getting exposed at work, but I didn’t imagine it lasting this long. After testing positive, I realized it has been worth it to stay away so they too weren’t exposed. What I would say to others to encourage them who are still fearful during this time? Whether you are still working or you’ve been laid off, this is a difficult time for everyone. If you’re still working, stay strong and support the ones who stand by you during this fight. If you’re laid off, fill your time with things you’ve always wanted to do. Get outside and explore, it’s the best medicine. Most importantly, stay positive, we will all get through this together!
Photo and story credit – Instagram: @jenzafrenza