Apocalyptic Nursing

Apocalyptic Nursing

We are all facing what I deem as apocalyptic nursing. None of us expected to be working under these conditions and I think it is appropriate terminology given the circumstances that we are facing.

As we face the second wave of COVID-19, hospitals are preparing for the worst. We, on the other hand, are preparing for the fight of our lives. So many of us have experienced the same thing. I am beaten up, tired, gasping for fresh air, and barely able to make sense of the first wave.

Like you, I am wondering, “what is so hard about wearing a mask in public?” I also wonder, “what could have been done differently to stop this.”  Many hospitals are now using team nursing as an effective pandemic nursing strategy. Team nursing, where I work, is defined as the charge nurse, staff nurse, and unlicensed personnel working together to provide safe nursing care to six or more patients per nurse.

We are all wondering what the least amount of staff you can work with and still provide safe patient care. The reality of this is that the hospitals must be prepared for when our peers get sick. We are preparing to have a plan B, plan C, plan D, etc.

My unit has developed a plan which includes CDC guidelines such as social distancing, wearing a mask at all times, and staying at home when not at work. We also take the extra step of limiting the number of people in our break room, being vigilant on hand hygiene, using not only sanitizer, but hot soap and water as much as possible.

We all know this is not foolproof and that we are still at a high risk working on a Covid-19 unit. However, we made it through the first wave with only one coworker contracting Covid-19. Because of this, we believe that we can make it through the second wave.

"If you had told me this time last year that I would be facing two waves of a pandemic in 2020 and impacting the holiday season, I would have said that you are crazy."

Some of you may have performed the same steps and unfortunately, maybe, did not have the same results. However, now it is time to plan and become strategic planners, leaders, innovators, and critical thinkers that nursing has made us.

If you had told me this time last year that I would be facing two waves of a pandemic in 2020 and impacting the holiday season, I would have said that you are crazy. But here it is, knocking on our door, and there is not much we can do about it except plan, be prepared, and be willing to kick Covid-19’s butt once again.

The defeat, the self-doubt, and the fear we feel as a profession are all washed away when you save that one patient. When we reconnect a family with their loved one on discharge when we thought we would lose the patient.

These are the moments that we need to remember and savor. These next couple of months will not be easy. I would never pretend to claim that they will be, but we are NURSES. We can do this. We can do anything – even apocalyptic nursing.

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