Starting a career in the midst of Covid-19

Submitted by McGill University
September 23, 2020

Excitement turned into anxiety

As my clinical stage came close to an end in April 2020, I was excited to finally graduate after many years of nursing studies. I was looking forward to spend the period after graduation and the start of my new career with my families, travelling and resting. This excitement turned into anxiety when the pandemic of Covid-19 reached my city of Montreal. It was an unprecedented event. The healthcare system was being overwhelmed and we, as new nurses were called upon to go to the frontline. As excited as i was to help, i was also anxious about the nature of this new communicable disease.

Experience of new nurse

I secured a position where I did my last clinical stage. I was called after 2 months of confinement to start my orientation. I did not know what to expect. When i returned to the unit, many things have significantly changed. New protocols and new procedures were implemented. The physical environment was also modified to adapt to the threat of the pandemic. It was a stressful moment to start my career as a new nurse. Although my unit was not an active Covid-19 unit, the fear of an outbreak created great tensions. A pre-op patient i was caring for tested positive for the virus. I was anxious about the uncertainty whether i contracted the virus during the incubation period. All nurses had to wear visors and mask at all time, often for 12-hr shifts. It was uncomfortable, but necessary to prevent transmission. I had to wear personal protective equipments  (mask, gloves, gowns, and visors) when caring for every patient. The patients felt isolated. We minimized our interactions with them to decrease the risk of transmission. Visitors were not allowed. Mental health nursing interventions became a crucial aspect during the pandemic. I had to reassured them often of our protective measures and made may authentic presence available. as much as possible. We also had to develop new strategies for them to cope.

Although it was a difficult period as a new nurse, I am proud to have been part of this phenomenon. This reminded  me of why i chose nursing as a profession which is to help others.