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Collected Item: “Getting My BSN in COVID Land”

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Getting My BSN in COVID Land

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The start of the semester was like that of any other except last semester I managed to secure an internship for the summer of 2020. Nursing school was already a difficult major to be in and I really didn’t think that it could get more difficult than that of junior year. I truly didn’t know what was to come. I will never forget being at clinical and hearing everyone mention the start of the virus. COVID-19 was on the backburner when it came to the most interesting topics of January 2020, but it would soon prove to be the most prominent in the upcoming months. I distinctly remember shadowing a nurse in the ICU one day and hearing the nurses discuss what was going to happen. “It doesn’t seem like it is coming here but trust me it is and when it does, we will need all the healthcare workers we can get.” This was a statement from one of the nurses that I will never forget hearing. At the time I didn’t fully believe the things that I were being rumored and didn’t think that we would ever be where we are today. As February and March arrived, COVID came to be part of everyone’s lives. Turning on the news, checking your timelines, and most day to day conversation held the topic of corona virus. Before we knew it, our lives changed completely. Our clinicals and classes were held remotely, you couldn’t leave your house without a mask, and we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to attend our internships. One thing that worried a lot of us was working while the virus cases began to spike. I knew that I would continue working as I was if not more than usual. Over the course of my internship I watched as COVID began to impact all the healthcare workers I was surrounded by. Safety precautions in the hospital setting were changing and at first, a lot of people were afraid to come in for their illnesses for fear of encountering a positive COVID patient. As time went on people became less and less afraid to come seek help at hospitals. With a large influx of patients coming in I could see nurses, aides, and doctors among others all begin to take the toll of the virus. This wasn’t necessarily due to exposure but more so that our exhaustion kicked in. Health care providers were and still are working countless hours to help in high census situations. The most frustrating aspect of quarantine has been watching people be noncompliant with mask requirements and stay at home orders. I wake up for work everyday and risk the wellbeing of everyone in my home including myself to help take care of those who need it. As the media has portrayed us as frontline workers, it felt slightly misleading while some of the public wasn’t contributing to lessen the blow of the ongoing problem. I started my internship to gain experience for my career. I didn’t know that I would grow accustomed to death and grief as fast as I have in the past year. COVID has shown me what it means to work hard and what struggles I can encounter in my career before I have even graduated and hold my diploma in hand. I currently work on the same unit I held my internship on as it has been converted into a COVID care unit. I go into work and experience exposure situations day by day but wouldn’t change my career for anything. The corona virus has taught me so much about what it means to be a nurse and take on healthcare as a career. In a few months as I graduate I will be prepared to take on whatever challenges it may have.

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Kaitlyn McKissick

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