COVID-19 has forever changed the fate of humanity and caused the deaths of millions of people worldwide. In the middle of these challenging times, the real heroes, nurses, stepped up and came forward to cradle the world back to safety and good health. Families fought over hospital beds while their loved ones battled between life and death. Our unsung heroes endured it all fearlessly between shortages of medical supplies, oxygen tanks, mattresses, and medical staff.
In the history of crisis management, a gripping crisis of this magnitude has never been like never before. Yet, the oath to save lives made healthcare providers go above and beyond their call of duty to serve their nations. Read on to discover how nurses continue to serve COVID-19 patients.
From running amuck on 24-hour shifts to skipping meals to sleeping at the hospital to protect their spouse and kids from themselves, these superheroes do it all. While they take diligent care of others, they often do it at their own expense. Though their faces still beam with joy, their minds are forever traumatized, exhausted, and hanging on to frays of their limit.
Round the Clock Duties
Traditionally nurses have been part of the public health team and stood on the sidelines to attending patients. However, times are changing; fast forward, nurses now take leading roles within the healthcare industry. Nurses enrolled in CCNE accredited online MSN programs can even lead response teams, curtail disaster management, and execute field and hospital operations with finesse.
Certainly not a first, these unsung heroes have been an integral part of healthcare since the dawn of times. Nurses have come forward in hopes of helping as many patients as possible. From giving round-the-clock patient care, these superheroes dedicate countless hours to ensuring every patient gets their undivided attention. Moreover, nurses strive to provide the appropriate care each patient needs to recover.
Always the First on the Frontline
Whether it is war, a global pandemic, an epidemic, or an outbreak of any sort, nurses are always ready to take on a challenge. For decades’ nurses have shown time and time again, they never back down, feel timid, run away or hide from evident danger. On the contrary, they are ever-ready to attend to patients regardless of the ailment, such as witnessed during the spread of Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Some other conditions that put nurses in the face of danger include Swine Flu, H1N1, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and now COVID.
Nurses continue to stay at the front line for patients by providing high-quality services, regardless of the risk of infectious and contagious diseases. Even though, in the process, it puts their health and life at risk.
Ray of Sunshine
Nurses made countless sacrifices during the first wave of COVID and continue doing so as the pandemic seems to be going nowhere anytime soon. Since family members and loved ones are not allowed to stay at the hospital premises, patients remain alone within the confinement of the hospital. Even during these lonely times, they turn to nurses who show compassion, empathy, and care towards patients, making them feel less lonely. These healthcare heroes give patients a ray of hope, someone to talk to, and a sense of normalcy. Moreover, they also take the time to talk to patients about their symptoms and disease care in layman terms for clear communication.
Beyond The Comfort Zone
The CDC advises people worldwide to stay at home to prevent getting infected. Regardless, nurses risk their lives daily in the face of danger to save innocent lives. No wonder 2020 was declared the ‘Year of Nurse and Midwife’ by the World Health Organization to celebrate the many sacrifices this noble profession requires during the ongoing pandemic.
As with any profession, not every nurse has years of experience or is well equipped to take care of complicated tasks, especially not of this magnitude. However, due to a shortage of healthcare workers, nurses stepped out of their comfort zone and came forward to take care of patients worldwide. In some instances, nurses even flew to other cities and countries to take care of patients.
Furthermore, nurses continue to perform their daily duties while wearing masks, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Though this gear keeps them protected from infectious diseases, it can get excruciatingly hot, tight, and uncomfortable to wear for countless hours. Furthermore, it can also result in rashes and skin irritation if worm for too long. However, none of these reasons stop nurses from getting the job done with finesse.
Being on a frontline day in and day out means being too close to the virus. Regrettably, this means that while attending to patients, nurses often bite the bullet and get infected. However, being a frontline hero is no bed of roses. During aggressive waves of the virus, nurses are on their feet for innumerable hours, feel drained with emotional and physical fatigue, and lead to exhaustion and eventual burnout.
In a study conducted via 20 telephonic interviews in Iran on nurses serving COVID patients, researchers discovered nurses and patients alike need access to updated information. Researchers further observed nurses and patients alike needed better social support, social welfare, spiritual care, improved services, and psychological consultation, primarily due to the overwhelming anxiety, stress, and depression faced during the pandemic.
Tips to Prioritize Self-Care
It is a well-known concept if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of others. Therefore, nurses should set aside a few minutes every week for yoga, low-impact exercise, and spiritual connection. Take time daily to eat a healthy diet chockful of nutrition to bolster the immune system to ward off the virus. You may also take some time off daily to relax, unwind, and do something you love, such as listening to music, meditating, or talking to a close friend.
However, if you have no time to spare for the above, at least try catching up on eight hours of sleep. Sleep is excellent for refueling your passion, reducing physical and mental exhaustion. Furthermore, rest is monumental for keeping depression at bay and keeping you bubbly and positive. Let’s not forget, a happy nurse makes for a satisfied patient too. No one wants to be around a perpetually annoyed and grumpy personality.
Nurses have made countless sacrifices worldwide while putting their own lives at stake. The world is forever in debt to this noble, courageous and selfless profession. Without nurses’ compassionate care and expertise, the pandemic would do more harm than we can imagine. While the world unites to celebrate the heroic struggles of nurses, the ongoing pandemic demands many more sacrifices to come; the battle is far from being over. Stay strong.