Learn how this Registered Nurse is confronting the COVID-19 pandemic
Jessica K. is a Registered Nurse, currently working at a Respiratory Specialty Hospital in Bountiful, Utah. Due to recent events, Jessica’s hospital has seen an influx of COVID-19 patients. Her story gives us a unique perspective on what it’s like to be a healthcare hero in these difficult times.
As a Registered Nurse, Jessica’s daily responsibilities include providing trach and ventilator care, administering medications, and caring for patients with traumatic brain injuries or respiratory failure. Given the specialization of her hospital, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on her job and has forced her to work overtime to keep the hospital staffed appropriately.
The love Jessica has for her career, the appreciation and support she receives from family and friends, and the health of her patients is what keeps her motivated during these hard times.
We are excited and honored to feature Jessica as one of our leading Heroes in Healthcare. Continue reading to learn more about Jessica and her story from the frontlines of the pandemic.
Registered Nurse at a Respiratory Specialty Hospital
Graduate of Eagle Gate College, 2019
What made you choose your current career?
“I love helping people and being able to have a job where I am learning something new every day.”
What are the typical responsibilities for someone in your position?
“Trach and ventilator care, medication administration, assessments, wound care, caring for patients with traumatic brain injuries, patients in respiratory failure, often patients in Renal failure, etc.”
Walk us through a day in your life. What does it look like?
“Most of our patients have respiratory failure secondary to other issues, or following an MVA or a TBI. We typically start with our first medication pass and do our assessments. Typically we have medication passes every two to four hours. We have to understand trach cares, check our patients’ settings, provide suctioning, change trach sponges multiple times throughout the shift, change trach inner cannulas, and have to know how to replace the entire trach or how to put it back in if the whole trach comes out.
Most of our patients are critical, can’t breathe on their own, possible continuous drips for blood pressure/sedation/Glucose, etc. I work the night shift, so we have no doctors in the facility at night, only Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, and our awesome CNA’s. It brings us closer as a team, and we oftentimes feel like family.”
How has the pandemic affected your work?
“We no longer allow any visitors into our facility for patients over 18. Since family members aren’t allowed in, we do phone calls or facetime with our patients to their families two or more times a shift. Employees are screened immediately when coming in the door, hands immediately washed, and PPE is applied. Any new patients are on mandatory isolation for a period of time and are placed in one specific pod during that isolation period. All doors between pods are to remain closed at all times, and we have to stay in our specific pod during our shift as much as possible.
If any employee has a fever or any other symptom, they’re not allowed back until they have tested negative for COVID-19. Because of this, we are often working overtime if we can ti help keep our facility staffed appropriately. Our facility has been full of receiving patients from other hospitals so that they can treat more patients.”
What has been the most challenging aspect of your job in recent weeks?
“The patient to nurse ratios if we are full and have any staff unable to work. We are trying extra hard to spend more time with patients to help with their mental state of mind due to being in our facility for so long and not being able to have any visitation from family or friends. Also, having our own family/friends panicked and reaching out to us as medical professionals with questions or concerns. The concerns of our career putting our family/children at risk of coming into contact with COVID-19.”
What do you appreciate most about your job?
“My co-workers, we have to be able to trust and count on one another. I love the diversity of patients we get and how much I can continuously learn.”
Where do you find the inspiration to endure this difficult period? What’s been your greatest source of strength?
“The love I have for my job, the thanks and support I get from family and friends reaching out to me, and the health of my patients and the need they have and deserve for proper care.”
How do you find balance? What do you do to maintain your composure during stressful moments at work?
“Before I was a nurse I was a critical care tech in an emergency department, I think this has helped me a ton in being able to stay calm and collected in the most stressful of times.”
Any words of advice or inspiration you’d like to share with other healthcare workers who may be coping with similar challenges and responsibilities?
“You are a hero! The work you do literally saves people’s lives. We are all in this together, and we will make it through this, and we will come out stronger and as better medical professionals.”
What advice would you share with the future generations of healthcare professionals, currently in school?
“The profession you have chosen is so important! The schooling and hard times you go through to earn your degree are worth it. There will be many times that you will leave work with a smile on your face knowing you made a difference in someone’s life. You will have countless times that you will feel proud of yourself for what you do and how you help.”
Thank You, Jessica!
We want to thank Jessica for devoting the time to sharing her unique and inspiring story with us during these busy times. We would also like to express our sincerest gratitude to all our healthcare heroes for their tireless efforts in battling COVID-19.
Thank you all. We are so proud of you!