By Jackie Hampton,
National Nurses Week is celebrated annually in order to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society. Many events such as banquets and seminars, which are normally associated with this celebration, have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Mississippi Link wanted our readers to know that we appreciate the hard work and dedication of nurses and therefore decided to dedicate this week’s publication to National Nurses Week.
Andrea Farmer, senior marketing specialist at St. Dominic’s, introduced us to two registered nurses that took time out of their busy schedules to respond to three inquiries, namely, #1: Describe how COVID-19 has changed your normal work routine; #2: Share any patient to nurse relationship encountered during a work day; #3: What do you like about being a nurse and what influenced you to choose nursing as a career? In their own words:
Latiah Smith-McWilliams, RN-BSN Clinic Team – St. Dominic’s Family Medicine – Madison was the first to respond.
“COVID-19 has altered the way things function at work. In the past, a typical day at St. Dominic’s was preparing the clinic to care for patients. Now, St. Dominic’s staff are calling multiple patients daily to offer virtual visits to ensure CDC recommendations and guidelines are followed. It is our obligation at St. Dominic’s to offer virtual visits to guarantee patient safety.
“During COVID-19, patients at St. Dominic’s have been so kind and encouraging. As I communicate with patients daily, I hear encouraging words like, “Thank you for your service.” And “I appreciate you for what you do.” These few words motivate me every day to come to work and give my all.
“In nursing school, my instructors emphasized how it is necessary to love being a nurse because challenging situations may arise that can be discouraging. I have fallen in love with my career at St. Dominic’s. I have yet to regret the decision of becoming a “healthcare hero.” This may sound like a cliché, but I became a nurse because I truly enjoy caring for people. The satisfaction on the patients’ faces when I care for them is rewarding. I honestly could not see myself working in another field.”
Anne Marie Alias, RN-BSN, Emergency Department, St. Dominic’s Hospital, offered a glimpse into a day in her department.
“Each ED shift begins with changing into scrubs that we wear and leave at the hospital at the end of our shift. Then we go over assignments and a rundown of current status. For the rest of the shift, we take each patient and situation as it comes providing the best care possible. For us in the Emergency Department, COVID-19 hasn’t changed the work that we do or the quality of the care that we provide. It has mostly changed the way we look while we provide it. Our commitment to doing our best for our patients remains the same.
“One of the things I’ve appreciated the most is seeing the creative ways that nurses are finding to help keep patients connected with their loved ones even though they may not be able to be together at the hospital. These are such unusual times. We are using mobile technology like FaceTime in ways we never imagined we would in a care setting.
“This situation has certainly brought our team even closer as we work together to help care for and share with our patients about the things we are doing to keep them safe while they are with us. The masks, gloves, gowns and face shields may look intimidating, but we wear them to protect both our patients and ourselves. Even more than ever, we take the opportunity to share with our patients why we are doing what we do and give them as much comfort and peace of mind as possible in an already challenging time.
“I was drawn to nursing because I love being at the bedside and knowing the things to do to help people when they can’t care for themselves. Being part of the St. Dominic’s team has also been such a blessing with daily moments (like the noon prayer) to pause and remember that we are each serving as part of a ministry of healing.