Nursing is a profession where the job can be strained, even before the pandemic begins.
Among critical care nurses in particular, a recently published survey of 771 critical care nurses by the Ohio State University College of Nursing found that they experienced higher rates of mental distress and ill health than other nurses. , which had adverse effects on the quality and safety of health care. The survey was from August 2018 to 2019.
Shull said this year that it was especially important to be intentional in recognizing and appreciating nurses, as not only did they care for patients sick with the pandemic, but they also addressed some of these challenges themselves, sometimes they- themselves or their family members fell ill.
“It’s also thanking them and acknowledging that they too have had personal challenges this year and despite that, they show up to work every day to provide incredible care,” she said.
Sara Dulaney started working on a heart floor two years ago at Soin Medical Center, but when the pandemic hit and hospitals started converting space into COVID units, her unit was converted.
She said they are always adapting and learning new treatments and that she is happy to be able to help people.
With COVID patients, she said they would have longer lengths of stay than patients who would undergo normal cardiac procedures she had seen.
“We pray a lot more with them. We help them spiritually because we were all they had sometimes with the visitor restrictions, ”she said. “We spent days with them and sometimes weeks with them, so you really get to know the people and their families.”
Dulaney recently received the Daisy Award, awarded for patient care. In an appointment by the daughter of a patient Dulaney was caring for, she wrote that Dulaney “has gained the trust of an otherwise ‘suspicious and anxious’ man who does not spend much time on his own health and life. well-being. She kept in touch with me and even offered her prayers for my father and for my family.
As it’s National Nurses Week, Dulaney, who started working in the lab before moving on to nursing, said she wanted to stress that patient care requires a whole team of not just nurses, but also doctors, laboratory, social work, leadership, etc.
“It literally takes an entire team to help them heal,” she says.
Steve Bower, nurse manager of the emergency department at Miami Valley Hospital South, said nurses were more anxious this year as they responded to the pandemic. CONTRIBUTED
Credit: Will Jones
Credit: Will Jones
Bower, nurse manager of the emergency department at Miami Valley Hospital South, said nurses’ anxiety last year was high, especially at the start of the pandemic.
“We didn’t know much about COVID from the start,” Bower said.
Bower, who is an officer in the Ohio National Guard Army Nursing Corps, said his career began just out of high school when he took basic training and became a medic and was exposed to Army trauma experts. He has worked with Premier for 16 years and in Miami Valley South for approximately 10 years.
This year, Bower said there were more days for him than usual and he worked to be there emotionally for the staff and to help the nurses feel safe. People were concerned about contracting COVID or bringing it to their families.
“There were definitely a lot of panic episodes where the stress had just been overcome and emotional states were high, so trying to keep them alive was a big task,” Bower said. “But, I am very fortunate to have a group of nurses who are exceptional and who rely on each other as family.”
During Nurses’ Week last year, Bower decided, in her spare time, to travel to drop off thank you gifts at the homes of nearly 60 of her staff.
“In healthcare, everything nurses do is looked at and measured and sometimes it’s really hard work… So I really wanted them to feel appreciated,” Bower said.
Marqeutta Colbert, owner of Colbert Family Health and Wellness in Trotwood and Harrison Township.
Nurse practitioner and owner of Colbert Family Health and Wellness in Trotwood, Marquetta Colbert, always knew she wanted to be a nurse. When she was younger she took care of family members and at 16 she volunteered at Miami Valley Hospital.
“Being a nurse has completely changed my life because I was able to find what I was supposed to do with my life at a very young age,” she said.
She went to Sinclair Community College for nursing at the age of 18 and worked as a nursing assistant in a nursing home. The Dayton native became a registered nurse in his mid-twenties. She worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Grandview and Miami Valley hospitals.
Colbert said a personal health issue is what kicked off the second phase of her nursing career. In her late twenties, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “There were gaps in the health care system that I felt I saw with my own diagnosis,” she said. “The specialist thought I wanted pain relievers and had no pain. I was having trouble sleeping.
By this time, she had started to think about ways in which she could help others even more than what she was doing in intensive care.
“If I am married I have good insurance, I am a nurse and I have medical knowledge and a medical professional might misinterpret my need, imagine what it would be like for someone who does not have a good health insurance, social support, economic hardships caught in the medical system are poorly understood or not receiving good medical care, ”she said.
In 2010, she opened her own primary care office, Colbert Family Health and Wellness, and during the pandemic, the health center performed COVID-19 tests for patients.
Colbert said the pandemic was straining the primary health sector as more people stayed inside and practiced social distancing and handwashing, facilities began to receive fewer acute care visits. for things like colds and strep throat. However, working during the pandemic for her and other nurses was extremely difficult.
“Working as a nurse during the pandemic has been one of the most rewarding but also the scariest times a nurse can go through,” she said. “The rewarding part of it all is because you take care of others, but the bottom line was that you were afraid for your own life and the safety of your family because of your chosen profession.”
Colbert said nursing changed his life and allowed him to counsel young nurses and even high school girls interested in nursing. “I was able to be an example and show them how they can become nurses,” she says. It also offers an annual scholarship, the Colbert Family Health Scholarship Fund, to high school students in Dayton public schools who wish to become nurses.
When not working, she enjoys reading and sharing book titles with her two daughters and shopping for herself and her family members.
Thiegart, a registered nurse and native of New Carlisle, works at the Grafton Oaks Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Dayton as the minimum data set coordinator where she cares for residents, develops care plans, performs patient assessments and makes recommendations.
Her nursing career began in 1980 while working in long-term care. In 1989, she graduated from the Community Hospital School of Nursing.
“I started as a nursing assistant because it was the only job I could get at the time and I fell in love with it. Just getting closer to the residents and being there for the residents who didn’t have families and trying to give them a good quality of life while they were in the facility, ”she said.
Working in the nursing home during the pandemic has been difficult for Thiegart and all nurses, including longer shifts with fewer staff and restrictions on visits.
“The hardest part of it all was watching what the residents had to go through. Having to stay in their room, disconnect from their family, ”she said. “You have to take care of the residents; you cannot put them on hold. How do you say to a family, ‘I’m sorry but you can’t come and see your family?’ “
Grafton Oaks was able to do something that many facilities could not. He was COVID-19 free throughout 2020, but there were a few cases in January.
Thiegart gives the credit to the administrator, Lisa Hamilton. “You need a team. She provided us with everything we needed regarding PPE, speaking and rearranging the building when we needed it, quarantining people coming from outside, immediately stopping visits, ”she said. declared.
She said nursing made her more empathetic and understanding.
“I just think I empathize with others and be able to understand what families are going through with their loved ones, whether it’s being sick or just being in a facility for the short term, or if they are terminally ill. Just a little more understanding of the things other people have to go through, ”she said.
When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and pets, and can’t wait to see her son who is currently deployed.