MONROE, La (05/11/20) — The World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse. We’re sharing stories of nurses on the front lines working in the battle against COVID-19.
As news broke that COVID-19 impacted the lives of those in Ouachita Parish, it put things into perspective for nurses. “Surreal, so surreal. Nothing I ever expected. It’s distressing,” said Donna Horne, Registered Nurse, Med Surge Floor at St. Francis.
“To be called to work that night, it was something else. I had to ask my wife and kids to pray for me, while I drove to the hospital,” said Elmer Menez, Registered Nurse in a COVID unit at St. Francis.
But not having communication with a patient is one of the hardest impacts this virus has on those working in the hospitals. “It’s hard to not hug and smile and show my smile to my patients. That’s a big part of my nursing and it’s hard not to have that,” said Horne.
And those who work in the COVID-19 unit say some days are harder than others. “It’s heartbreaking to hear one of your patients you admitted the other night went bad and went to a different unit and died two or three days after,” said Menez.
But with hardships, also brings joy.
“But it’s also rewarding. We have a lot of patients get discharged and thank God for that,” said Menez.
Working as a nurse during COVID-19 also impacts those who don’t work in a COVID-19 unit. “Entering the hospital, you’re still exposed to areas where those people come and go. You just have to take precautions,” said Dawn Golson, NICU Nurse at St. Francis.
And while nurses are heros to those battling COVID-19, they say they’re thankful they get to do their job and do their part to help in the pandemic.
“Heros to me are the ones who are social distancing and staying home. They’re doing that to flatten the curve for me,” said Horne.
Some nurses say their fears are that their PPE products are working properly and are adequate enough to keep out the virus. They say they can’t wait for the day they can hug and smile at their patients.