Notes from a frontline healthcare worker during the COVID crisis

Molly S. is a registered healthcare worker working on the front lines. We are grateful that she has offered to share some of her experience with us.

The hospital is doing a great job planning for the worst, and that has inevitably heightened my stress and worries. The sheer number of emails I was initially receiving related to new COVID nutrition resources, possible deployment, and policies around PPE, was very overwhelming. I’d leave work hoping to listen to my usual radio tunes and forget the day behind me, and instead I would be inundated with more information related to COVID. I was constantly in a state of exhaustion, both mentally and physically. 

Initially, work was (hands down) my biggest source of stress. However that has recently shifted for the better, as I’ve challenged myself to embrace change and uncertainty. I’ve started appreciating the state of readiness the hospital is in, instead of fearing the future. I’ve started smiling, laughing, and going about my day almost as usual, with the confidence that I have grown, I am stronger, and I am capable of getting through this pandemic. I’ve also helped compile wellness resources for my floor, and have participated in group therapy with my colleagues where I had the chance to process the emotions I suppress.

Instead of feeling inadequate, I’ve risen to the challenge of helping with nasopharyngeal swabs, a task that typically isn’t in my scope of practice. I’ve enrolled in a Critical Care Nutrition course, so that I can better understand the impact COVID can have on multiple organ systems and subsequently nutrition interventions. I’ve accepted the opportunity to work part-time in the ICU. I modify my physical assessments when developing nutrition care plan for patients who are COVID +ve, to stay safe and reduce my risk of infection.

Most importantly, I have begun letting myself feel without judgement. I still experience an array of emotions and thoughts, but now I’m learning from these mindsets. I’m trusting and believing that everything will be okay again.

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