Courtesy of Sam Perez
Before I introduce Mrs. Perez and discuss her interview, myself and the entire CST staff would like to take this time to thank all of the healthcare workers that have been actively fighting against COVID-19. While most battles are fought with armies and bullets, this pandemic has forced various health care workers such as doctors, nurses, and medical assistance to step up and be at the forefront of this crisis. The bravery and courage of these individuals goes without saying, as they risk being compromised each and every day for the sake of our well being. With this being said, every healthcare worker should be commemorated as heroes when the fight is finally over, as without them, so many more lives would have been lost.
In order to honor these healthcare workers, the CST staff decided that it would be best to interview a nurse that is on the frontlines of this pandemic. Mrs. Perez has been a nurse for seven years. She works with patients in labor, as her job is to consistently “assess, prioritize, continuously monitor, test, and manage overall care for patients who are in labor, including those with high risk pregnancies.” She works with an “interdisciplinary team” made up of attending physicians, social workers, residents, and ancillary staff in order to meet a patients satisfaction. She knew that this was what she wanted to do ever since high school, as she “loves the excitement of the emergency room and helping people when they are at their most vulnerable.” She takes pride in being able to comfort and ease her patients while also being there to educate them as well.
During this crisis, she stresses how much the delivery process and the work of her peers has changed as a result. In the delivery process, there is an intimate connection that is supposed to be created with the patients. This connection has become more difficult to achieve due to all of the safety precautions such as masks and limited visitors. As a result of these precautions, these mothers often have to leave the hospital earlier than usual, which shows the great sacrifice that these new mothers have to take during this pandemic due to all of the restrictions in place. As for the work of the rest of her colleagues, many units are forced to work overtime in order to take care of the influx of patients that COVID has brought. The anesthesia and respiratory therapy departments are getting the worst of it, as they are working “tirelessly intubating patients and putting themselves at risk, as all intubations are aerosolizing procedures and carry a substantial amount of transmission risk. They bought their own protective equipment with specialized filtration (they honestly looked like spacemen) in order to protect themselves.” For the first few months, that department as well as various others were working all day and night, and it was a scary time for all of her colleagues.
When asked about what worried her the most, as you could probably guess, she stated that being an asymptomatic carrier is her biggest worry, as she does not want to put her family, friends, or even patients at risk. Moreover, as an expecting mother in October, there is tremendous risk if she does contract the virus.
One of the coolest things that Mrs. Perez was able to share during her interview was the conditions in hospitals today. She stated that they are rapidly improving, as more and more units are being assigned to their original functions. In her particular hospital, they established an awesome tradition of playing the song “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles every time a COVID patient is discharged. In such a frightening time for these workers, little things like these keep them motivated and hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
For the final question of the interview, Mrs. Perez was asked what she would say to those who are going through the same experiences she has. Her answer was truly inspiring, and paraphrasing it would not do it justice. Her response was “we are all in this together. We are all going to have some major psychological ramifications from seeing the things that we have during this time and need each other to lean on more than ever. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and I am so privileged to work with some of the smartest, strongest and most caring medical professionals and ancillary staff. We cannot thank the community enough for their outpouring of support through this entire crisis. We have had countless donations of food and supplies from business all trying to help us get through this unprecedented time. We had a car parade where community members, and families created posters and signs and honked while driving through the parking lot cheering and thanking us. North Lindenhurst and Lindenhurst Fire Departments stood together outside and cheered for us as the night shift came into work and day shift left. It has been one of the scariest, yet most incredible experiences I have ever been through in my 7-year career.”