LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Exhausted mentally and physically, nurses are some of the strongest people in the community right now. They have been on the front lines helping people and their families dealing with the coronavirus for the past five months.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of thanks given to health care workers. Some of that extra attention has seemed to slow down, but the work nurses do every day has not.
Chasity Jackson and Amy Jo Devault talked about what it’s like to be a nurse now in the COVID-19 unit at UofL Hospital.
“For the most part, our nursing staff are the only ones who are in these rooms and on this floor all day, every day,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she got into nursing because she wanted to help people; she realized she is doing that every day.
“You are complete strangers, but that bond forms quickly when they are alone and you are the only person they have,” Jackson said.
Devault said she isn’t scared to be on the COVID unit. Devault said she actually feels safer at the hospital than she does at the grocery store.
"When you become a nurse you take that vow to do everything you can for that patient," Devault said.
Jackson said working on the COVID unit makes her sad.
“It does, it does,” Jackson said. “It definitely does. You are not only taking care of the person who is passing away, you are taking care of that entire family who is scared and concerned and can’t be there with them.”
Both Devault and Jackson said what gets them through is finding the positive and celebrating the victories no matter how big or small. Sometimes they are able to give some patients who have been at the hospital for 40-50 days a celebration walk when they can.
Because there are no visitors allowed, saying goodbye happens through a screen when someone is dying from COVID. The hardest thing for both of these nurses was being there at the beginning of the pandemic when loved ones weren’t able to say farewell face to face.
Devault said it feels almost like a marathon.
”We’re in it for the 23.2 miles and we are probably at mile five,” she said. “We know it’s going to take a while but, we have committed ourselves to being here for our patients.”
What nurses want right now is for people to realize this virus is taking so much from its victims and their families.
“What we see is here is real,” Devault said. “We see patients struggle. We see patients say help me, I can’t breathe. That struggle is real, and it’s heartbreaking.”