I can still remember the very first day of my new grad orientation… after having spent several weeks shadowing an experienced nurse in my hospital postoperative unit. I had purposefully arrived twenty minutes before the start of my shift, knowing the first couple of hours of the night was hectic as we get patients from the recovery room. I had been teary-eyed in the staff bathroom, immensely scared about facing my first shift. I remember holding my clipboard tightly as I get a report from the outgoing nurse… and I whisper to myself “you can do this, you know what to do…” That first stride into the patient’s room, recovering from a surgery that will give them a new lease on life was the culmination of four years of blood, sweat, and too many tears during nursing school.
In a way I was born into this profession, when I graduated I became the fourth out of the six siblings in my family to go into nursing. Being the youngest, it was a natural path seemingly since my older siblings would scare me with needles and IVs as a child.
A little over two months ago my hospital halted all elective surgeries and my unit became the designated COVID unit. We quickly moved our remaining postoperative patients out to a different tower and braced for the onslaught of suspected COVID patients from the emergency room.