Honestly for me, the fear of the unknown has been the hardest to overcome. I was like most in the beginning and didn’t want to take COVID seriously, even being a healthcare provider myself. But seeing these patients first hand changes you; the moment when a patient looks into your eyes and asks you, ‘Am I going to die?’ as you’re holding their hand. You don’t know how to answer them. You want to tell them, ‘Of course not!’, but you know you shouldn’t make promises you aren’t sure of. Then there are the moments you watch your co-workers feel defeated after losing one of their own patients.
These are the moments that will break you. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried or have had feelings of anxiety at times (which is something I’ve never experienced before). I find my mind constantly racing. There have been so many sleepless nights. When will this quarantine be over? When will I be able to hug my loved ones again? When do we go back to ‘normal?’ Will there ever be a ‘normal’ again?
Something that has helped me during this time is hands down my co-workers. They have saved me through this pandemic. We may be going through different circumstances, but we are all facing the same threat. Some are staying in campers, some are self-isolating in their home, and some still see their kids and significant others daily. We are all making a sacrifice in some way. The truth of the matter is; there is no right or wrong way to do it.
I am amazed seeing the bravery in my co-worker’s eyes day in and day out.. they never skip a beat. We lift each other up in the darkest of times and inspire one another. We are all scared, but at the end of the day we show up and are there for each other. That is truly remarkable.
If you could give advice to any new nurses starting now, what would you say?
Stay strong. These are hard times, even for seasoned nurses. I don’t think any of us ever even imagined a pandemic would be something that would occur during our lifetime. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. Feelings of frustration, fatigue, and negativity are normal. But I ask you to try and keep your spirit alive. This battle has a lot of uncertainty but at the end of the day, if we can make it through this, I truly believe we can do anything. You can’t see but I am smiling at you through my mask. I am so grateful to be fighting by your side.
Photo credit – Instagram: @jenzafrenza