Burnt Out Before Beginning

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Burnt Out Before Beginning

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January 2020 was going to be my year. I had gotten an internship in Pittsburgh, PA that only selected 200 kids out of the thousands of applicants. Not only did I get the internship, but I got it on the unit I wanted to be on, the Emergency Department. March of 2020 comes along. The pandemic has now hit the United States, and everyone panics. May of 2020 comes along. Still in quarantine and in lockdown. I had been out of my job for the past 2 months and was about to begin my internship. Although I was excited to get back to work, I never imagined that it would be as brutal as it was.
Every morning at 6:30 am we would get screened at the door. Masks were given out, temperatures were taken, and the three health screening questions were asked. At first, no one came to the hospital. Everyone was still scared and didn’t want to come to the place that held confirmed COVID-19 positive patients. This lasted about a week. Then everyone began coming. Before we knew it we had more patients than staff and we didn’t have enough beds for everyone coming in. Patients would come in with a broken foot and next thing you knew they were COVID positive. Did we wear our mask properly around them? Did they cough on us? Did we maintain 6 feet apart? These were all the questions rambling through our heads once we had learned that a patient was positive after taking care of them all day under standard precautions. We didn’t have enough N-95 masks for everyone to wear, so you had one and that’s what you used all the time. The amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) was far less than we needed. The hospitals tried their best to get them, but sometimes we had to make do without it. At the time, not everyone could get swabbed. We didn’t have enough it’s for everyone so only those that had 3 major symptoms (fever, sore throat, body aches). This was before we knew the asymptomatic patients were so high in number. Every day we wore our masks for 13 plus hours. Every day we wore gloves and gowns for 13 plus hours. Every day we put our lives at risk to save everyone else for 13 plus hours.
This is only a snippet of what healthcare members saw throughout this pandemic and are still seeing today. Within 4 months, I was burnt out from the pandemic. I graduate in May and I fear to see what the hospitals will be like then. In better words: wear your masks, get vaccinated if possible, and follow the guidelines. It may not harm some of you personally, but it is hurting your healthcare professionals every day that this pandemic lingers.

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This item was submitted on February 6, 2021 by KT using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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