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  • Writer's pictureGuru Press Staff

Being a Nurse During the Pandemic

Updated: May 8

By: Fane Aimee G. Tamayo

Nurses are known to be at the vanguard of safeguarding the health of everyone, supporting and providing the science of care to all patients. However, with such a profession during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is without a doubt that frontline health care providers were at high risk of contracting the deadly virus, not to mention the psychological, social, and emotional distress in coping with work demands, social relationships, and personal life. Consequently, numerous research studies revealed that health care providers during the peak period of the pandemic had dysfunctional levels of anxiety.

Sadly, in the context of these rapid changes, several news reports from the local to the national media relayed the discrimination and harassment encountered by nurses from their neighbors, landlords, and the community they protect from the spread of the virus. To mention a few, an ambulance driver was shot when parking the vehicle in a residential area, a nurse was petitioned not to return to his rented apartment by his neighbors, a hospital worker was splashed with bleach, a nurse was evicted by his landlord for contracting the virus, and a riding-in-tandem splattered chlorine to a passing-by nurse. Our fear got the best of us, losing our sense of being human.

Though the government took steps to mitigate such cases by passing ordinances prohibiting discrimination and denial of services to health workers, these encounters contributed to nursing burnout and compassion fatigue which subsequently affected nursing care outcomes.

A health worker mentioned, “We would go home to shower not just because we didn’t want to risk exposing loved ones, but to attempt to wash off trauma, wash away the guilt of wondering if we could do more.”

Still, despite these experiences, nurses continued to uphold their duties and responsibilities, serving patients, especially those who turned out to be positive for the virus, and being hopeful that their patients regain their strength and that they are soon reunited with their families.

In an interview, a nurse expressed that it is never easy to witness her patients suffering, but she never gave up on any of them. She held out hope and prayed that each would survive.

The reason for this could be due to the character possessed by nurses. A study by Chau JPC, Lo SHS, Saran R, et al. (2021) revealed that nurses possessed resilience, self-care, and adaptability when confronting resource shortages, changing nursing protocols, and physical and mental health threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is seconded by the conviction of one of the health care providers. She said, “at first we were all fearful, worried about bringing COVID home to our families. But once we started taking care of these incredibly sick patients, we just did what needed to get done.”

While resilience and adaptability were observed among the nurses, coordinated support from the clinical environment, local authorities, the community, and their loved ones could help improve the physical health, mental health, and well-being of nurses. Additionally, the formulation of policies and guidelines for advanced preparedness would likely improve nursing responses to future pandemics. Most importantly, for everyone to have compassion for humanity so that we may be able to understand where others are coming from.


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