The beginning of my career

Submitted by McGill University
October 24, 2020

After three years of working towards becoming a nurse, I was in my last clinical rotation when I first heard of the virus across the world, I never would have imagined that this would be the beginning of an important part of our history. Every day, I was observing an increase in conversation on this topic until the day that the virus had travelled and was officially said to be a pandemic. Panic took over society and I felt angry that I had worked hard for years only to have my studies put on pause, my clinical rotations canceled and I was frustrated that my life was completely shifting. I was asked by the hospital to increase my hours to full-time all while still doing online-school. I was immediately put on the first unit to hold positive cases and was thrown into the lion’s den without any preparation or proper tools to care for my patients. It was very new to everyone and we were terrified of the unknown, protocols were changing twice a day and adjustments had to be made. We were understaffed, everyone working seemed exhausted, but we knew that we had to rally for our patients. We had our first COVID-19 Code Blue on the unit, and we were told not to resuscitate until the patient was transferred to a negative pressure room and intubated by the Code team. We lost more lives than I could count, patients taking their last breaths isolated from their loved ones. The staff started getting affected by the virus causing even more worry on the unit, our hospital was designated to receive all positive cases and transfer out everyone else, almost all our units were filled by infected patients, I was then moved around different units. We all kept working, we were getting tested as the staff was getting increasingly infected and on May third, I received a positive test result for COVID-19. I was at work when I found out and the only thing I could think of was that first day in clinical when a nurse mentioned this unknown virus discovered in Wuhan. Life was put on paused, people could no longer work, we were unable to see our loved ones and the numbers only kept increasing. Being a student nurse, loosing my final semester and graduation, having to study for my order’s exam, being isolated from my family all while having to work full time at the hospital had an immense impact on my moral that I tried to burry deep down. After a month I recovered and was eager to return full time at work to help the staff and care for my patients. It has been the most challenging months of my life, some days I broke down in tears while other days I laughed, I worked until I dropped, and I got back up. In February I heard about a virus, in March schools were shut down and people could no longer go to work, in April I lost many patients, in May I tested positive, in June I went back to work, in July we were finally adapting to the “new” normal, in August we barely had any positive cases, in September I wrote my order’s exam, and in October I officially became a nurse. Through this pandemic, I have been challenged and I have grown as an individual, one day at the time, we keep moving forward.