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Nurses are the backbone of a strong healthcare sector. They work hand in hand with doctors trying to take care of patients, and that’s how the traditional healthcare system has always been functioning. However, when the pandemic of 2019 struck, it toppled the entire system. The way we were used to running a hospital could no longer work. At one time, a massive influx of patients had to get admitted. Initially, little was known about the virus, so not enough precautionary methods could get set into motion. Unfortunately, nurses had to pull off their training wheels and work harder than ever to take care of patients. Nurses who worked tirelessly with so much dedication make them unsung heroes, but their turbulence cannot get ignored.
Nurses faced numerous challenges during COVID. They were tested to their limit to keep the hospital sector in one piece. To help you understand further, here are some challenges nurses faced during COVID:
A Test Of Their Skills
Not all nurses are equally skilled, as some nurses had just entered the field and had to face the pandemic. It became an actual test of their skills to try and use their skills to take care of patients. It is the core reason why nurses constantly upgrade their skills and gain much by hands-on training. They try and balance education to elevate themselves. Nurses following their bachelors can go for a masters in nursing online and hone their skills. The more skills and knowledge a nurse has, the more autonomy they get to work. The option is viable for those seeking a flexible career while maintaining their current lifestyle. All it takes is consistency and dedication to obtain a higher degree.
Piling Cases Indefinitely
When people started being affected by the virus, numerous cases were coming into the hospital. The virus impacts everyone differently. Some people express the virus very strongly, collapsing on their feet, while some show no symptoms. Some patients end up expressing symptoms after testing negative. All of these became a massive challenge for nurses. They try balancing between shifting patients to get tested while wheeling patients into quarantine. Between both sets of patients, nurses had to accommodate their time to ensure the right patient was getting a bed. When there are so many patients coming in at one time, it is not easy.
Pulling Extra Shifts
Nurses had to stay back during the pandemic to look after patients. What started with staying back one night became staying back multiple nights. Nurses were overworked to the brim. The hospital became their home and their workplace as they monitored patients. The situation could not worsen with numerous patients being on ventilation and in critical condition. Suppose if only a few nurses stay behind, they won’t balance all acute cases on time. It meant they had a few minutes for some patients, while it meant a few seconds for others. And that is why most nurses had to stay back and provide care.
When checking a COVID-positive patient, nurses had to wear PPEs. The protective gear blocked every inch of a nurse’s skin, including their face. PPE was essential before administering any care. It prevented the virus from infecting nurses as they checked patients. Unfortunately, PPEs are disposable after a certain number of uses. Nurses need to discard the old PPE and wear a new one. The consistent changing of PPE impacted their stocks. There came the point where the PPE’s had run short. Doctors and other healthcare professionals also shared these PPEs. Hospitals were dependent on the state to provide them with more PPEs. But the pandemic had impacted the global supply chain leaving nurses stranded. They had to create their version of PPE that was dangerous and not safe enough to use. Unfortunately, nothing could be done, and nurses had to stick with whatever material they could find as a PPE.
A Risk To Their Lives
Nurses had to risk their lives to take care of patients. For many nurses, it meant saying goodbye to their families trying to take care of patients. Nurses also didn’t know if the COVID would impact them strongly. There were reported cases of patients as young as teenagers passing from the virus. Despite knowing these risks, nurses still work to care for patients. They would put their lives at risk and monitor patients and their symptoms. None of this is easy. It takes resilience and willpower to subside your life to serve humanity. The trouble was even more substantial since nurses started working on patients when there was no vaccine in sight. To put your life at risk with no cure is again not accessible.
Isolation and Depression
Nurses have to put their lives aside. They aren’t allowed to have extended breaks, see their families or hang out with their friends. The reason why such extreme measures were taken into place was to curb the virus from spreading. It pushed nurses into isolation and depression when they were kept away from their families. While they could video chat, it still cannot compete with being your family. Nurses were also not following a proper diet or sleep schedule. All these factors work in unison and start taking a toll on a nurse’s mental wellbeing. Mental health depends on how we treat our bodies and health. If we neglect ourselves, it ends up expressing itself in the form of depression or anxiety. Depressed nurses can work at their maximum capacity; they may start collapsing under the weight of responsibilities.
Dealing With Death
There is a belief that medical professionals are used to death. While that is true to some extent, losing so many patients in one go is accessible for no one. Nurses witnessed a large scale number of patients passing because of COVID. There were few celebrations compared to the number of people who had to get shifted to the morgue. Nurses had little time to grieve. They witnessed their patients at their lowest, with some showing heartbreaking signs of loneliness. Human tragedy is not easy to see. For nurses watching one patient go after the other steadily takes a toll on them. It is also another way nurses may start showing signs and symptoms of withdrawals and depression. Unfortunately, hospitals couldn’t keep up with counseling and helping these nurses to cope with grief. An accumulation of misery and unprocessed thoughts leads to difficulty in focusing and working.
Nurses faced too many challenges during the pandemic. These challenges were not easy to conquer and are still ongoing. The nursing sector is one of the most prominent sectors of the healthcare industry. These professionals risked their lives to take care of patients despite not knowing how the virus would progress. Consequently, several nurses also lost their lives and even faced many mental health issues due to the workload. The increased number of patients with no end in sight made the situation worse. While we applaud our nurses for the work they did, none of what they went through and are going through in any shape is easy. The world has yet to recover from the virus, and we can only hope it heals fast.
By Marlene Coleman
– is a passionate blogger who love to write on digital marketing, Business, technology, and finance-related topics. Also, a reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web. She is a featured author at UpLearn.