Overall, I am not surprised by the outcome of NurseGrid’s survey, A Pandemic’s Toll on Nurses; although we have started to vaccinate front-line workers, it will take some time to get the vaccines to the average citizen’s arms citizen. These issues, coupled with the shortage in nurses, PPE, and the socioeconomic climate, have taken a toll on all nurses. To make things work for the better, we all need to do our part and work toward supporting each other and learning how to treat these patients.
The lack of PPE is concerning for those caring for patients and even on the academic side of things. We find it challenging to have students on campus for clinical simulation and other skills practice due to rationing out supplies to be donated to healthcare facilities. We understand that PPE is essential for those caring for COVID patients, but we also need to have PPE to train students properly to become nursing professionals. This has required us to be creative in the methods that are used to educate our students. We also have used our students in more of a volunteer capacity to help with vaccinations and call centers to help support the nurses and give them much needed exposure to patient care. It fills me with great pride to work with these students as they feel the need to support others and care for patients.
I can identify with the nurses who are changing positions and roles due to COVID. I primarily work in academia, but I occasionally work weekends for a public health center to respond to COVID. I can appreciate that this is vastly different from caring directly for those critically ill with COVID; I felt that I should answer the call in the best way that I could for now without burning myself out. I never thought that I would treat patients directly again, but I strongly desire to support nurses. I am currently looking at other methods of serving. We all are just doing what we can with the time we have.
This report indicates that while many nurses lack fulfillment and feel overwhelmed, they still feel called to nursing and will not choose a different career. This report affirms my thought that nursing is an excellent profession full of flexible, hardworking, and compassionate people who are devoted to the service of others; this is why we say once a nurse, always a nurse. However, I agree with the statements at the end of the article that a clear plan to support nurses is essential to the nursing profession’s wellbeing. These interesting times may be a jumping point for nurses to step up and lead; who better to develop these critical plans?