Medical professionals have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Being a nurse and working the frontlines of Covid-19 has been a battle, but they are resilient and stronger than ever. We wanted to know what life is like when juggling the emotional and physical challenges during a health crisis. Venessa Ruiz, a Health First nurse shares some insight on adapting to these modern times.
How have things changed with your job since Coronavirus?
So many practices and procedures have changed and continue to everyday as the pandemic has developed. Things like wearing a mask, not just the healthcare providers but also everyone working: security, cafeteria workers, kitchen, and housekeeping, even plant operations. We have our temperature checked upon entering the building. Visitor restrictions have personally been one of the most difficult changes. Being there for our patients is so important, while the families are unable to be, especially those patients at the end of life.
How as Coronavirus impacted you?
The impact personally was adapting to my college student coming home and homeschooling my 3 other children in the house. The three kids’ ages are 15, 14, and 12. They attend 3 different schools, so between them we have 16 teachers. So many challenges for sure. Food bills and utilities bills are rising with everyone home and on all 4 on computers doing schoolwork. We changed the dinning room in to a classroom, replaced the mirror on the wall with a white board for schedules, and the server that use to house specially dishes and silverware now holds school supplies. However, through all of these challenges, the isolation has made the family unit stronger than ever.
What are some misconceptions about Coronavirus and what do you wishthe public knew?
Common misconceptions are that only elderly people get the virus. Everyone has the potential to become infected. The elderly, immunocompromised, and persons with pre existing conditions are more likely to become severely ill. Wearing masks protect you from catching the virus and help us slow the spread by containing people’s own droplets to themselves, which may contain the virus. People maybe infected and showing no signs of the viruses (asymptomatic) however, they can still have the ability to infect others. When we are in a public area where we could come into close contact with others, we should all wear masks to protect each other. Droplets, when coughing or sneezing, can reach or spread out up to 6 feet; this is why the social distancing is so important. Also, wearing a mask does not negate washing your hands or practicing social distancing.
What concerns do you have as someone who has seen this firsthand?
Some concerns (as a nurse) are a second wave emerging and bringing the virus home to my family. I have taken many precautions to ensure as best I can that I do not to infect anyone at my home or in public. I change out of my scrubs at the end of my shift before coming home. I change my shoes before entering my car; no shoes in the house.
How have people treated you since?
I have been treated very well. So many local businesses have donated food and drinks to the hospital for the staff, which has been very much appreciated. Local gas stations have been giving free coffee to health care providers. To all the mask makers that have sewn to provide our community with personal protection, we are thankful. Just in general, the outpour of support by our Brevard community has been breathtaking at times.