When I sit down and try to piece together all my thoughts and feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic I can’t help but feel fearful for my family and stressed and overwhelmed with my new responsibilities as a mother, now teacher, and a nurse leader. Most recently I’m feeling sad and lonely, not being able to hug and kiss my parents or sit down with close friends to talk and vent about daily stressors.
My children are learning their new normal with mom and dad as their teachers. We try to have schoolwork started by 9 a.m. and finished by 12 or 1 in the afternoon. This is when I insist that we take our daily walk to burn off steam and frustration that we may be suffering from online learning glitches. This is the time I take to reflect and talk to my boys about what’s going on in the world and the importance of social distancing from their friends. We also talk about the virus causing this change in their lives and how it will hopefully be temporary. I feel like I’m doing my best to put them at ease during this scary time.
When I’m at work I notice that everyone is hyperaware of their surroundings, listening to how coworkers feel and then noticing their anxiety increase when I mention that a patient is being admitted with COVID-19 and that they will be their nurse.
When I’m taking care of patients, I feel like I’m listening intently to their conversations, making sure they were following the state-instructed precautions. I’m especially nervous when a patient states that they have visited New Jersey or New York recently; that’s when my heart starts pounding and the thoughts in my head make me start to panic. After I calm myself down, I review with my patients the importance of letting me know if they have had any respiratory issues, dry cough, fevers, or lethargy. We as healthcare workers ask our patients multiple times about these symptoms—it definitely reflects the fear we are feeling and I’m sure it makes our patients just as uncomfortable.
We are all living in uncharted territory, but I can say one thing is for sure: I will cherish every day with my family. I will never take them for granted, and I will hug the people that mean the most to me every time I see them.
—Alicia S., RN
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