COVID in Rome

Submitted by Myriam Sarkissian
October 27, 2020

When I found out about COVID-19, I was on a beach in Rome. I hadn’t joined the nursing profession yet because I was missing credit in french literature to graduate. I decided to travel to Rome to get away considering my class was online anyway. I remember receiving a call from my mom in a panic, asking me to come home immediately because they were closing the borders and I would be stuck in Italy. A few days later I was on a plane to Montreal. Upon landing, I could see the fear in people’s eyes. In a short time frame, the world we once knew was completely changed. I was exempted from writing my EUF exam so I could get my diploma to start working immediately. I started my first CEPI job in geriatrics. I was working in a residence with semi-autonomous patients. We had very little information about COVID, which created a lot of anxiety. On a daily basis, I would worry about potentially contaminating my patients and my family. The fear of harming my loved ones was too great. I decided to live in a hotel close to the residence for the time being. My life revolved around COVID-19. Despite how overworked and tired I was, I also felt fulfilled. That is until I had my first COVID scare. Three of my patients tested positive and I couldn’t help but blame myself. The sense of guilt was so strong I contemplated quitting my job, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave my patients alone because I had a sense of responsibility towards them. I decided to change my attitude regarding the situation we were living in. From that moment, I knew things were going to be ok. I would wake up with a positive outlook on life and that would carry me through my day. This pandemic has taught me that I have grit. I chose to make nursing my profession for better or for worse, and regardless of the challenges I may face in my career, I’ll find a way to push through and persevere.