Being an Operating Room Nurse During COVID-19
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Just when I was getting in the grove of writing consistently and I was focusing on art and in my own little comfy bubble, the world decided to one-up us all.
I learned about epidemics and pandemics in school. Like years ago. It all seemed pretty straight forward at the time. I swear it was like only 2-3 pages of the book. However, it is never that simple. You can only prepare so much.
Nursing is known for being a steady, reliable job. This is true for nursing in general. Just so you know, the operating room is the first to close in times like this. Operating rooms were shut down and only urgent cases were allowed. Not too much later they were only allowing emergent cases. I work in the ambulatory setting where the bulk, if not all, of cases are elective. Going from a busy machine chugging along to a screeching halt was interesting. It was like someone pulled the power on all of us. Lights out and everyone is in the dark, at least together. I know in the hospital setting nurses can be shifted to other departments which is what happened. In my case, there were no other departments. Rumors of other centers shutting down and letting all of their staff go started flooding in.
Lots of people got hit hard by job losses in all fields. It was not very comforting on top of the unknown, the virus itself. Thought process: Will I actually lose my job? * take up nursing they said, it's a reliable job, they said* Will I get COVID-19? What about my family and friends? Wait, one mask for the whole day while we use to throw them like candy wrappers? Why did I choose this profession again? Ok, it's ok. If I lose my job I can easily find another one, but the learning curve of switching specialties is a little nerve-wracking. I have a solid foundation in all specialties. Thank you nursing school, even if you pushed us to the brink of insanity at times. However, it has been a while. That's ok, it is like riding a bike! I'm sure that statement strikes confidence into every patient's beating heart...if that statement alone doesn't send it into cardiac arrest.
This sadly was the reality of all nurses and anyone in the medical field. When you have a pandemic on your hands, things change. Resources shift. We are one of the resources that get shifted around. I don't envy the people who have to make the decisions on how to accomplish this.
Fortunately, my company came up with a pretty solid plan and kept us in the loop. *huge sigh of relief from everyone*
In limbo, we took the time to improve our work area. Fix the little things that bug us, but there is only so much of that. After that, it was one day at a time. We would have a meeting to keep us up-to-date. After a while, this became the norm. We are slowly ramping back up. Now, I know I am starting to sound like everything is fine and dandy. I think after the 3 months we have adjusted to the new level of stress pretty well. I have to hand it to leadership and my teammates. We are going through this together and it is not over yet.
That is what I have been up to the past few months among a few new hobbies I have picked up from being stuck at home (if not at work), which I'll share about later.
Take care, wear a mask, and wash your hands. -DashinMoments <3