Still Fighting on the Front Lines A Day in the Life of a Nurse During COVID-19

Special to the Journal

Nicole Branzell of Revere has been a Licensed Practical nurse with All Care for the past nine years. On a typical day, she leaves her house in the morning, works an eight-hour shift, and returns home to her husband and two boys. However, things have changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and Nicole, like all of us, is now adjusting to the “new normal.”

Over the past several months, the way we provide care to our patients has changed. Nicole and many other healthcare professionals have taken the highest precautions as they enter healthcare facilities and patient’s homes, donning masks, gloves, using hand sanitizer, etc. Nicole admits that increased stress from COVID-19 can take its toll, noting some days are tougher than others but “this is what I signed up for.”

While this virus takes a large toll on healthcare workers, it can be devastating for some families of patients who contract COVID-19. Nicole experienced this with one of her patients she has cared for over the past eight years. The patient’s daughter called Nicole one afternoon to tell her that her father (who was not a patient) tested positive for COVID-19. This was especially worrisome as the mother, Nicole’s patient, was compromised and suffering from multiple health issues.

The husband was immediately taken to the hospital and they were told that his condition was very serious, and it was only “a matter of time before he passed.” Both their daughter and son were devastated by this news and consulted Nicole about how to best share this information with their mother, with whom Nicole had developed a very close relationship.  The couple had been married for over 50 years and would now not be able to see each other due to visitation restrictions at the facility.

With the help of hospital staff, Nicole came up with a solution. She went to the home and set up a FaceTime call with her patient, the husband, and their children so they were able to say goodbye. The family was thankful they had a way to communicate one last time, as the husband passed within two days of being hospitalized.

Nicole cannot stress enough how important it is for the public to remain vigilant about wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and proper hand washing techniques. She notes, “This man was homebound, yet he still contracted COVID-19.” She hopes this case can serve as an example of the potency of the virus and encourage people to do their part to stay home and prevent the spread.

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