Viel C, RN

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.

Fear of the uncertain came with the rush of admitting patients, but there was scarcely a moment to dwell on my anxiety worsening as I hurriedly put on PPEs.

It has been over a decade since that first day I showed up fresh from orientation yet with this insidious virus, I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my entire nursing career. My heart broke as I saw patients having gone through the ICU and telemetry floors after being extubated — gasping for air, drowning in a nonexistent ocean, painfully trying to hold on and breathe. Many were the elderly, from skilled nursing facilities who had other illnesses, often confused and bedbound… their families prohibited from visiting due to COVID19. Some were those with mental health issues, combative and assaultive to us, the nursing staff that is there in full PPEs trying to stick a swab into their nose. I have dodged an uppercut and held on a patient’s frail hand in the same shift. For many, this virus will be a death sentence… in my more than ten years in this profession, I have never seen so much death. There are moments during my shift that I still get teary-eyed, still scared at the unknown, same as when I was still a new nurse… only this time it was knowing that I am actively exposing myself to this virus. As I don my PPEs for what seems like the millionth time this week and stride into that isolation room, I still whisper to myself “you can do this, you know what to do…“

purchase our products to donate towards much needed PPE