Today’s post is dedicated to a very special and vital profession: nurses. Specifically, to nurses who were redeployed to other areas of the hospital to meet the needs of an enormous influx of patients.
Meet Stephen and fellow nurses Denise, Chandani, and Yulianna. All 4 of these brave nurses are Interventional Radiology nurses. In the spring, when their hospital became quickly overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, they were shifted to the OR ICU due to their training in critical care.
What is an OR ICU? Well, earlier this year many hospitals closed some operating rooms because elective and non-emergent surgeries were cancelled. These rooms were then transformed into ICU rooms to hold 4 patients at a time, with loud HEPA filters to create negative pressure and clean the air, and no windows to see outside.
Nurse Stephen described how painful it was to care for such devastatingly sick patients, all of whom required the highest level of medical care. This often included sedation, mechanical ventilation, ECMO, feeding tubes, Foley catheters, IV access, dialysis, and more. Less well-known treatments included lubricating the eyes (sedated patients don’t blink), rotating patients to prevent bedsores, changing dressings, and cleaning sites to prevent infections.
Not only do nurses work to provide the highest level of care possible, they also serve as a constant source of emotional support for patients, who are often isolated from their families. Nurses are with patients before and during sedation/intubation, as they wake up and breathing tubes are removed, and often as patients take their last breath.
Treating such sick patients, especially in the spring, was difficult technically, however it was the mental burden of dealing with the number of deaths per day that became overwhelming for these nurses. At the end of their 12-14 hour work day, they removed their masks and went home to their families, fearing they would be bringing home the virus with them.
Nurse Stephen praised his husband for all of his support and love, and for always waiting to have dinner together, even if wasn’t until 9pm.
Please join us in giving a well-deserved “thank you” to these 4 heroic nurses and ALL of the nurses who braved such an uncharted territory, and continue to do so throughout the pandemic.