For nurses working on the COVID-19 frontline, no two days are the same. But one thing that remains constant is the high level of care they’re providing for patients. At Elmhurst Hospital, teamwork makes it possible.
“Right now, there’s an improved sense of camaraderie,” says Kristin Hassett, Registered Nurse with Elmhurst Hospital. “People are being more compassionate and gentler with each other. We’re so busy, but it’s not all business. We’re all so thankful for each other and what everyone else is doing to keep things running well.”
This means stepping up to work more frequent or longer shifts. Kristin has worked an extra 12-hour shift every week since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with more hours on the job, many doctors and nurses are moving from their normal units to work in COVID-19 units.
“It might not be their first choice of things to do right now but everyone has been amazing,” Kristin says. “People are stepping up and learning things they’re not used to doing. We truly are all in this together.”
But even with more people sharing the workload, the job isn’t without its challenges. For those working, there’s anxiety around each shift due to the uncertainty each day brings.
“I’m having trouble sleeping at night, especially the night before a shift,” Kristin says. “It also takes me longer to physically recover from a couple of shifts in a row because it’s more emotionally and physically exhausting than usual. But we’re all getting used to our new normal and it gets a little better every day.”
It also weighs heavily on doctors and nurses that COVID-19 patients are without their family and friends. Visitors aren’t allowed right now, meaning the medical team becomes family for the patients.
“I want the families of the people who are hospitalized to know that we’ve adopted their loved ones during this time,” Kristin says. “We care even more deeply for them now than ever before. We are doing our best and treating them as we treat our own.”
What makes it all worthwhile is knowing patients are getting better.
“We get so happy anytime we can take a patient off a ventilator,” Kristin says. “We sit with them and tell them ‘you’re giving us hope and you getting better helps all of us.’ We get a daily update on how many people have been discharged and a lot of people are getting better. There are positives to be found and those are the things that make us happy.”
To learn more about COVID-19, visit Edward-Elmhurst Health online.