This article provided by trustaff.
Allison Swan, RN, has been a nurse for 13 years. She has experience in critical care and is a full-time Associate Professor of Nursing when she isn’t traveling. She recently took an assignment with trustaff in New York City during the COVID-19 surge and took a few minutes to share with us a bit about what that experience was like first-hand.
What were the working conditions like during your assignment?
The working conditions were scary. You’re very vulnerable as a healthcare provider. We would get one mask per week that you had to reuse, which really makes you think while you’re going from patient to patient, carefully checking your PPE each time. You work a 12 or 13 hour shift and you have a mask with another mask over it, under a face shield, with a gown, gloves.
The patients were the sickest I’ve ever seen and the ratios were intense. But, I was really impressed by how the hospital system worked to support the staff. They didn’t have enough resources but they worked with what they had to provide the best patient care possible. Everyone was incredibly welcoming to us travelers and grateful for our help.
How was this different from assignments you’ve worked in the past?
I’ve never worked in a hospital where every single floor was an ICU and every single room was a contact room! Definitely not something any of us have seen before. There’s a bit of extra work involved in putting on your PPE between every room, and then there’s the fear of taking it off in between and being exposed, not knowing at that point whether the virus was airborne, droplet, etc. There’s still a lot we don’t know about it.
I’ve also never worked at a place where healthcare providers—so compassionate, so caring—came from so many different places to help. There was a calling. Not just nurses, but doctors too. Everyone put in 110%.
If there was another surge or another pandemic, would you do it again?
Definitely, I would do it again. I would go in with a different attitude and more respect for the disease, and I would go up sooner. One of my biggest regrets was not getting up there earlier. I know many of my colleagues would go again too.
I see it as my duty as a nurse. It’s what we do. I’ve worked hurricanes; I’ve worked blizzards. We’re the first ones to volunteer, and COVID-19 was no exception.
How did you cope with the stress?
When I came back to Florida, I couldn’t sleep. I’ve never had PTSD or anything like that, but it was definitely a stressful experience. I’m normally a cat person, but when I got home I got a Goldendoodle! A new puppy kept me occupied and that helped. I highly recommend it.
We hope you found this video helpful. Are you a healthcare worker that worked during the surge of COVID-19? Comment below with your experiences.