On the Frontlines of COVID-19 Pandemic, a Nurses Perspective

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By Jennifer Traub

June 15, 2020



On the Frontlines: A Travel Nurse’s Perspective on the Pandemic

My initial thoughts on the pandemic:

When I first heard about coronavirus months ago in January, I thought it was another “headline” the media was blowing way out of proportion. Just like H1N1. Ebola. I thought it was a mild flu that would soon pass, just like all other modern pandemics. Laughed at my friends who were making this a big deal. I swore my dad had become a hypochondriac in his old age.
Even further highlighting my ignorance, I was at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the day they first declared CoVid-19 a pandemic.

It was when I was in line for Thunder Mountain with one of my best friends that I turned around and said to her, “I don’t think we should be here right now.” The next day they closed Disney World. They shutdown sporting events and areas where large amounts of people could congregate. It was then I realized this wasn’t just the flu. This was something more. Something far worse.

We weren’t prepared

An influx of infected people with this novel virus swarmed the emergency rooms of many cities across the world mid-March. We didn’t know quite how deadly this thing was, but there was something we did know. We sure as hell weren’t prepared.

Our new army equipped with no weapons

Nurses and doctors became our new army equipped with no weapons. No masks. No vents. Just direct human contact with the inhalation of this foreign pathogen we knew absolutely nothing about. Many got sick. A few died. Every one of them lived in fear of what they may contract during their shift each day, and even worse, what they may bring home to their families. They were forced into a position they didn’t sign up for, yet a position they did all at the same time.

Unsettling uncertainties

It has been a few months since the initial outbreak of this pandemic, and even though we know so much more than we did, there are still unsettling uncertainties. Is it over, or will a swarm of infected patients overwhelm our healthcare systems once again? How much will more innocent blood have to be shed, until we have definitive answers?

More at ease

I am more at ease over this than I was in March and April, but we are not in the clear year. This has been a huge humbling wake-up call as to what we lack as a healthcare system and how we need to improve society. We became too complacent in the majesty of our country and allowed an enemy, planned or not, to derail us. Whatever the real statistics are and whatever the truth may be, we MUST take this as a learning lesson and become stronger, so that a visible or invisible enemy will never knock us off our feet again.

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