GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – May 6th is National Nurses Day and during this COVID-19 pandemic, the recognition means a little bit more to our healthcare heroes.
“I went into nursing to provide patient care and to care for my communities.” said Sarah Lancaster, the clinical manager in the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
She’s leading her team on the frontlines of this pandemic.
“We wanted to make sure that the staff felt safe to work in the emergency environment and potentially encountering a positive COVID patient,” said Lancaster.
“I think the most taxing part of it is just the fear of the unknown and all the tension, you know, here in the hospital,” said Breanna Nielsen, an RN BSN in the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s.
Over the last few weeks, a lot has changed for these nurses.
“Especially over the last, you know, month and a half, we’ve all really just come together and the amount of teamwork has increased,” said Cody Jones, an RN BSN at the St. Mary’s Medical Center Emergency Department.
“They come in day-in and day-out and work their tails off to make sure that their patients are cared for,” said Lancaster.
Medical standards can change daily as the knowledge of COVID expands during this pandemic.
“Making sure we’re prepared, not really knowing what every day is going to give us I mean we’ve had so many policies set in place they keep changing
“You can’t be resistant to that change, you just got to go with the flow,” said Amber Ziek, an RN BSN in the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s.
Wearing masks constantly poses one of the biggest new challenges for the team.
“We’re all wearing masks, so it’s really hard to communicate with your patients,” said Jones.
“You’ve got to really smile with your eyes these days,” said Lancaster.
According to Jay Brierley, another Emergency Department RN BSN at St. Mary’s, it’s so important for community members to wear a mask.
“The mask is not for your protection, it’s for everybody else’s protection, when you’re not wearing a mask at the grocery store you don’t look brave, you look like you’re being reckless and endangering everyone else around you,” said Brierley.
You can wear your mask to show support for local nurses on National Nurses Day, it means a lot in 2020.
“I think this year it means a little bit more, just because of the times that were in,” said Lancaster, “It’s very unknown, you know, we just, you know, we’re just waiting, waiting for a surge.”