Where to begin. We are in unfamiliar territory like never before in this country. As nurses, as families, as businesses, as part of society... we've never done this. It is eerie to say the least. We were not prepared for this. To be honest, I never saw this coming at all. Covid 19 is unashamedly claiming rule over us at this present time in 2020, and it's not done yet.
Nurses, and all healthcare workers, are fighting a battle that we are a bit unfamiliar with, against an invisible enemy we are still learning more and more about every day. Some say we should've known and been better prepared. Others say there's no way we could see this coming. Either way, it's here. And we're in the fight, like it or not. I will be completely honest, I did not understand what all the hype was at the very beginning of all this. I didn't get it. But seeing all this unravel first hand working in a hospital setting, I certainly do now. And it's no joke.
Nurses are being called to war, and in some instances, not having enough "armor" to protect themselves. Personal protective equipment is running short all over. Many nurses (like myself) are being pulled from their current places of work and being transferred into units that are strictly designated for Covid 19 patients. This is serious, and the need is great. Procedures of how to deal with all this changes daily, and sometimes even hourly. Nurses don't want to catch the virus themselves, and even more so, fear bringing it home to loved ones. Anxieties are high, and the unknown is the worst. We all just want this to end.
We are seeing patients uneasy about all that is going on. Many are upset by the fact that no visitors are allowed. Unnecessary procedures are being cancelled and rescheduled. People's lives are being turned upside down. All the while, we still are trying to stay calm, provide the best care possible, and keep ourselves safe as well.
This is changing us for sure. We are being stretched, challenged, emotionally drained, and more. We will not come out the same on the other side of this. No. But what will we be? STRONGER. We will be stronger, wiser, better, closer, and more resilient than ever before. We will have bonded over patient stories, challenges, hardships and struggles. Many of us will get sick ourselves, and hopefully heal and get well quickly. After all, we have lives to live. Better lives, on the other side of this. We have more to give. We're not done yet, and this virus isn't here to stay. So if we can all continue to stay home (except for the essentials of course), we can kick this thing to the curb and celebrate the victories on the other side!
Oh yes, Nurse Gone Strong has a WHOLE new meaning now. New and improved. We will be stronger. We will be so much better for it on the other side. We will look back on this someday and say "remember when..?". I can't wait for that day. Until then, be safe, be well, be strong, and let's do this.
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.