Nurses talk about their experiences on coronavirus front lines

Nurses talk about their experiences on coronavirus front lines

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Across the country, emergency rooms are filling up with COVID-19 patients, putting a strain on hospitals everywhere. Nurses and doctors are working around the clock, trying to treat people who come through the hospital doors.

Regina Hymer is one of those people. She’s the Chief Nursing Officer at Norton Brownsboro, and says last time she saw a situation like the coronaviurs was the AIDS epidemic.

“We didn’t really know how it was being transmitted, and we couldn’t get it out to people soon enough so people were scared of the unknown,” Hymer said.

Hymer and her staff are working with all hands on deck, making sure they have the resources to assist patients, while also keeping themselves safe.

“We have to be ready immediately and work from there," Hymer said. "We’ve been able to assign people to units they maybe weren’t on before so they can get acclimated to it. They are getting education on how to take care of COVID-19 patients. We’re able to do a lot of very good things right now because we have the extra personnel.”

It’s a reality Darin Life is dealing with too. Life is a registered nurse at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. That hospital’s Intensive Care Unit isn’t full yet, but doctors and nurses are doing their best to prepare.

“We’re ready for the beginning influx," Life said. "They’re currently looking at other places how they can expand our intensive care. Obviously that’s going to take time, because you can’t just snap your fingers and have it be there.”

Life said he’s not scared, because he’s survived other outbreaks. He said he also knows despite the risk, patients are the priority.

“I may get sick one of these times," Life said. “I’ll just cross that bridge when I get to it, but I try not to worry about it. I just got to do what I got to do.”

..Putting their lives at risk to save the lives of others.

“We have a special mission," Hymer said. ”This is really what a lot of people are called to do when they’re called into health care."

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