COVID-19 has impacted my life both personally and professionally in too many ways to write in a short article. Here are a couple of experiences that stand out to me.
We started hearing about the COVID-19 virus in China in late January 2020. We really did not know much about it and were not getting much information. My father was in a skilled nursing facility recovering from a fractured hip. He also had dementia that was worsening quickly. They closed the facility to visitors in late February 2020. We could not go see him and it was heart breaking because he did not understand what was going on.
Dad went home from the skilled nursing facility late March. On April 16, he began to have symptoms of extreme confusion and suddenly could not figure out how to do basic daily tasks, like eating or dressing. While he was in the emergency room, our family learned the facility that he was just discharged from had an outbreak of COVID-19. That was the last day Mom saw Dad. Three days later his COVID-19 test came back positive and on April 27, 2020 he passed away. The nursing staff were great talking to us and letting us visit Dad via Zoom anytime we wanted. I know how busy the nurses were, so I was incredibly grateful. The hospital allowed a dying patient a one-time visit, one visitor for 30 minutes. Since Mom was also having symptoms of COVID she would not be allowed to visit. My siblings either lived too far away or were scared to go to the COVID unit. I jumped at the chance to see Dad just one more time. When I got to the hospital, the charge nurse was so kind. She assisted in helping me dress in full PPE. I will never forget those few last minutes I had with my dad.
Dad retired as a chaplain from the hospital, so all the nurses knew him and loved him. One nurse did not want him to die alone so she came in on her day off and held his hand as he died. I will never forget her.
I am approaching the end of my nursing career. The last few positions I had were in management so have not worked at the bedside for many years. In my current position I work as a population health care coordinator. Because of COVID-19, the team I work with has been asked to take on additional assignments. I began re-training to work at the bedside if needed but since I was not needed at the bedside, I helped in other areas. For example, I helped take care of COVID-19 patients in a local nursing home when many of their staff walked out when they had an outbreak. I help do COVID-19 testing of nursing home staff. The staff were tested twice per week, then weekly and now monthly. Our hospital started a COVID at Home program. If patients do not meet criteria to be admitted to the hospital but the providers are concerned, they enroll them in the COVID at Home program. Patients are given a pulse oximeter, instructions and a log to keep track of their symptoms. I, along with other nurses go into their home if they need a physical assessment. When we go into the home, we are in full PPE to assess and educate the patient and family. Then we report back to our provider and assist with a video visit. This allows patients to be monitored at home. As the patient’s symptoms improve, we keep in contact with them with a phone call. We will follow the patients until they are able to follow up with their primary care provider. All patients are grateful for the care and support they receive.
Autoría: Nici Davis. Editora responsable: Verónica Tíscar.
Artículo con revisión editorial. No existen conflictos de interés en relación al presente artículo. Las opiniones expresadas son responsabilidad exclusiva de los/las autores/as y no reflejan, necesariamente, los puntos de vista de los/las editores/as. Artículo bajo licencia de Creative Commons: Reconocimiento 4.0 Internacional.
Este documento debe citarse como: “Davis N. Experiences of an american nurse in the COVID-19 pandemic [Internet]. Enfermería Activa del Siglo XXI: blog abierto; 17 de mayo de 2021. Disponible en: www.enfermeriaactiva.com”