ER Nurse Erinn Ford is on the frontlines of coronavirus at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Here’s what she has to say about what it’s really like fighting COVID-19, and how we can all help out our healthcare professionals.
“Being a healthcare professional during this time is surreal. As an ER nurse, I am used to the unknown from minute to minute. This goes way beyond the unknown. Every patient and visitor encounter is putting our lives at risk. The young and healthy staff are now falling into the immunocompromised category because of sheer exhaustion. We are running out of resources. Sending patients outside to sit and wait in the cold. Arguing with visitors who may not see their loved ones. We are working in cold tents without food, drinks, or bathrooms. Our rooms are full of isolation patients as we scramble to try and make more rooms for them and everyone else.
Everyone is in this together. Healthcare workers need to remember that tensions are high for everyone. Everyone is fearful and tired. No one is more important than the other. We need to continue to work as a team and push through this. Family members need to remember that we are exhausted and scared. We are walking towards the people you are instructed to stay away from. Our shifts are longer and a thousand times more stressful. We don’t get off work exactly when our shift ends. We have to shower and change clothes to keep YOU safe! We have to do laundry when we get home to keep YOU safe. We toss and turn all night replaying every second of the past shift to make sure we did everything we could to treat the sick and protect our families. We carry a huge amount of fear home with us with no end in sight and the reality that this is only going to get worse. Be patient and understanding. Tell them you are thinking of them. We may not be able to respond but ask how their day was. You will never truly understand how bad it is but every little text, phone call, and thank you has a huge impact and that’s what we need right now!”
Shared with permission from Erinn Ford.