Letter from a nurse: 'We wonder if one of us will succumb to this illness'

Port Coquitlam nurse Christina Gower writes that medical professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis are overwhelmed by information and concerned for their safety, too

The Editor,

An update from the front lines, and in a word, it is eerie.

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The ER department and the professionals within are poised and ready to get rocked.

The duality of being creatures of science while immersed in social media has caused what can only be described as information overload.

We peruse the journal articles that we have been trained to trust. We scour the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control websites for technical information. We hit the various health professionals' social media groups and swap information with members from around the world. We cry when we see our medical family members suffer from afar, and we wonder what is to come for us. 

I have to give some serious props to the administrators and managers who have put into action plans to reconfigure hospital, virtual and community settings to prepare for the coming avalanche.

I give kudos to the public for finding a way to manage whatever illnesses they have at a distance from the hospital to allow us to prepare and take a deep breath before the storm.

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The systems are working and, despite the negatives we hear, our collective as a society is truly pitching in together.

We are on the cusp of our local spike of this illness and we are worried about how we will protect ourselves and our families. Many of us are looking at ways to stay away from our spouses and children for the next few months. We see the staggering numbers of health care providers who are infected around the world and we are already rationing our personal protective equipment, in this for the long haul.

We look to each other and wonder if one of us will succumb to this illness, too. We see COVID-19 starting to come through our doors now, and it is hitting our young and healthy, despite the narrative that this category would be safe.

We see Vancouver and its 1900-hour cheers, and it helps, because while we are answering our call of duty, we are scared, too.

I wasn't going to make this a request, but if anyone has N95 masks, please turn them over to health authorities. We can't safely do our job to protect the public without the equipment we need to protect ourselves.

We know it is hard to stay home but we ask you to think how hard it is to walk into the danger zone with all that we know, and all that we don't.

Christina Gower, BSPN, RPN, PLN, Port Coquitlam

 

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