Surviving a pandemic

Submitted by McGill University
September 19, 2020

A unique perspective of both sides

I was working as a nurse before the pandemic, but decided to change position and work in administration for a little while before going back to school. I figured this would be better for me in order to focus on my studies. How wrong was I !

I took my new job as a unit coordinator in the emergency at the beginning of March, and everything changed in the span of 2 weeks ; load of patients, mandatory PPE, changing the dispositions of rooms, protocols ever changing, the mounting anxiety surrounding the uncertainty of what was happening. Even though I was not working as a nurse anymore, I was called to help, since the situation was getting worse, and they needed as much arms as they could afford. It was a rather intense and challenging period for workers, but also for patients ; they suddenly had no one to rely on, but us, healthcare workers. We had to take care of all of their needs and find new ways to incorporate the families as much as we could. Death was happening at a much higher rate than usual. Patients were getting critically ill very quickly. It was definitely challenging for all of us humans.

One thing that saved our department was the collaboration and the sense of belonging. We were supporting each other, and being kind to one another, despite the intensity and the unknown. We made gifts to one another, we sent each other encouraging emails, we allowed ourselves to vent when the pressure was too high. Being kind is one thing that should always come first, even in the face of a pandemic.