Kim has been a nurse for 10 years and a coronary care nurse for 7 years. She works in Ayrshire and this is her story.
By the nature of my job I regularly see people on the worst day of their lives. I have spent countless hours of mine holding the hands of scared patients and similarly scared relatives. On a day to day basis I deal with situations that can be life or death in the team’s hands. This environment, even at its best is a roller-coaster of emotions with the highs of saving lives and the lows of losing them. Despite all of this I love my job and I have never doubted that it is what I am here for.
Earlier this year (2020) news broke of the Covid-19 virus. Whilst we were all horrified by the soaring death toll in other countries, we didn’t fully see the impact that it would have on our country coming. As time progressed and we learned more about the virus, we all became a bit more nervous and quite rightly so. My ward was split and became a “red zone” which meant 12 hours of wearing a facemask and then additional PPE when dealing with patient care. For the first time in my career I dreaded going to work. The fear of contracting the virus and becoming unwell, fear of contracting the virus and unbeknowingly carrying it to a patient/relative/friend or worst of all my children. Furthermore, the heart sinking feeling of knowing that any patient very unwell or dying would not have any family with them as visiting had been stopped. Initially, the people who were sadly becoming very ill and/or dying from Covid-19 were mostly said to have underlying health conditions. Until news started breaking of nurses and doctors who had died, one stands out in my mind, she was 34, healthy and had 3 young kids. Now I was scared, I love my job, but I never signed up to give my life for it. That nurse was just like me and my colleagues, we were all feeling it and trying to cope with it. We all tried to support each other too. The community supported us too, clapping every Thursday in appreciation, discounts on everything…”heroes in blue”.
I appreciated this but none of us felt like heroes. We were just showing up and doing our jobs. being hailed a hero comes with a responsibility to live up to. As some of our colleagues contacted the virus it only made it more real. But all we could do was continue to show up, so we did. Hopefully, we are coming through the other side of this now, I’d hope that in the future this is something that we learn about rather than relive. Things I will remember of this time are the lengths I went to to keep my family safe, how much I missed seeing my friends and family. Probably most importantly that when the world felt like it was falling apart the thing people wanted most was their loved ones and nothing else really mattered.