COVID-19 The Good, The Bad, and The Deadly….

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COVID-19 The Good, The Bad, and The Deadly….

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COVID-19 The Good, The Bad, and The Deadly….

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck I was in the spring semester of my second year of nursing school. Being naïve and not having experienced a pandemic before, I expected COVID-19 to breeze in and out like the flu every year. What I didn’t expect was a deadly virus that would leave behind it a path of death, despair, and devastation.

One of the biggest areas in my life that was impacted by COVID was my education. As classes moved to virtual platforms there was a major learning curve for both students and professors. CDC guidelines and social distancing made it difficult to find areas on campus to study and next to impossible to study in groups. My friends and I worried about our lack of clinical experiences and how that was going to impact our future. Since I had virtually no clinical hours during my specialty rotations, not only was I unsure of my skills, I was also unsure of where I wanted to take my nursing career.

Returning to work over winter break was also very challenging. I am a patient care assistant and medication technician at an assisted living facility. All throughout the summer I worked with the threat of COVID looming above my head like a dark cloud. It was the first time in my life that I felt people really depended on me. I understood that my actions impacted the health of others. Fortunately, my residents all remained safe. However, I was not prepared for my return a few months later. The residents were no longer allowed to have visitors and they started testing positive for COVID. At one point we started to run low on personal protective equipment, but we were still trying to take all the precautions that we could to keep us and our residents safe. It was heart breaking to be the one holding a residents hand as they passed away due to coronavirus. My job became a lot more difficult having to communicate with families and watching their final moments with their loved ones. The residents that were lucky enough to not contract the virus were lonely and couldn’t understand why they had to quarantine. They felt abandoned and afraid. It was a very trying time for all my coworkers since we were all working overtime due to our staffing shortages. Working overtime was both physically and mentally draining. Even on my days off I was called in because staff members were getting sick and were unable to come in. It was mentally exhausting because every day I would come in to work and be nervous to walk in to report and see who had passed in the hours I was gone.

COVID-19 also brought about some remarkable changes. I have spent a lot more time with my family as we have discovered our new passion-hiking. My co-workers and I have a new appreciation for one another and take the time to have meals together and support one another to make sure we are doing okay mentally. I have been part of innovative changes like my COVID-19 remote patient monitoring job and positive experiences at the COVID vaccine clinic. I have seen the medical and scientific communities collaborate on treatment guidelines and the development of a vaccine. It has also been an incredible period for change and innovation.

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This item was submitted on February 12, 2021 by Lauren Yeaw using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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