Life For Health Care Workers During COVID-19
Like many people at this time, I’ve been glued to the news. Listening to podcasts, watching videos, and reading Twitter updates about how the current pandemic is affecting people all throughout the world.
Now, some of our Heart and Soul listeners, who are healthcare professionals, are sharing what they’ve experienced everyday. The struggles they face are unique to their location, their respective hospitals, and the make-up of their lives…but what keeps them going is one and the same.
Here are their stories.
Mental and Emotional Stress
Yllana admits that living and working in the Philippines as a nurse hasn’t been easy. Because she grew up in L.A., her closest friends live on the other side of the world. She’s spent the last eight months adjusting to the cultural norms, the way of life, and even the weather in Manila—all of which, she confesses, has been a challenge. Even at St. Luke’s Hospital, where she works as a registered nurse, she notices the inequality between the impoverished, the middle class, and the wealthy.
“Many people in poverty come in day in and day out…they feel hopeless and they feel like nobody is paying attention to them. [It’s sad to say] but there are healthcare workers who pay more attention to those who have a little bit of money, as opposed to those living in poverty.”
Combine all of this with increasing fear of getting sick and passing on the virus to her parents—like many healthcare workers, Yllana is growing anxious about the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment at her hospital.
“This past week, I had to use one gown for my entire 12-hour shift which was really horrible. And I couldn’t wait to get out of my PPE and my scrubs, and just throw it in a bag.”
Yllana confesses that she’s had a difficult time dealing with all of these complications.
“I have mental breakdowns every night. I just feel alone, because I am alone most of the time. And there’s just this uncertainty that’s out there, day in and day out, when I go to the hospital. And it just [affects me] mentally, emotionally.”
In Sydney, Australia, Xandria, a registered nurse at a children’s hospital, has come to learn of a new challenge that she never thought she would have to face in her hometown.
While people all over the world are expressing their gratitude to nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers, Xandria shares an unfortunate incident happening to nurses in her city.
“Nurses here, unfortunately, are being assaulted and verbally abused in public because we’re seen as dirty, [if we] wear our scrubs in public. And so we have to deal with that as well.”
Xandria admits that although she hasn’t personally experienced this herself, a friend of hers was yelled at on her way to work. As a precaution, nurses at her hospital have been advised not to wear their scrubs in public, even before going to work.
And while this occurrence is (as far as I know) unique to her city, the other challenges that she faces as a frontline worker are not.
“It’s been a very anxious time for me. You don’t really want to think about it, but you do want to be prepared. If I were to get sick, I would have to leave [my home] and go elsewhere in order to protect my family.”
Showing Compassion During a Pandemic
Growing concerned about one’s family is something many people, most especially healthcare workers, are experiencing. Llewy, a charge nurse and mother of three, from Atlanta, Georgia, admits that since they started to test patients for Covid-19, her anxiety level has increased. Like many nurses, she’s also afraid of putting her family and children in harm’s way.
But her concerns go beyond her own family.
“Seeing patients struggling to breathe, then having to transport them to a higher level of care—and there’s nobody at their bedside [because] their family members are not allowed to visit them—it’s just heartbreaking.”
It’s been hard, she said, to see patients deteriorate “sometimes in less than an hour.” But as difficult as it is to see this first-hand, Llewy still goes out of her way to show compassion to her patients.
“We just let them know that we are here, that we’re going to try our very best to make sure they get through this. And that we’ll also try to keep their family updated [with their condition].”
Often, this means arranging a video chat with family members. Maybe even using FaceTime if possible, she says, so that her patients can still see their family.
What Keeps Them Going
For Yllana, Xandria, and Llewy, working as frontline workers during this current pandemic is one of the most difficult things they’ve ever done. And while every day at work can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty, their relationship with God continues to give them solace.
“The one thing that keeps me going,” Yllana shares, “is when [my parents and I are] together for our worship services. I just know that God’s always by my side and He’ll never forsake me.”
Since the pandemic hit, worship services in the Church Of Christ worldwide are now held online, to follow the instructions of health care officials and the government. And most importantly, to give members, like Xandria, the spiritual upliftment they need during this pandemic.
“I can still have peace, to ease my anxieties—I can remain connected to God during this time.”
If you’re a frontline worker, or someone who is experiencing a lot of anxiety or worries during this pandemic, and want to know how to get through it all, take the first step today.
Michelle Barreda is the fresh cup of coffee that you need in the morning, but can’t handle in the afternoon. Aside from kickboxing, she geeks out about writing, books, and music. She’s a staff writer and producer at INC Media Services.