An interview with a nurse working during a pandemic

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As COVID cases continue to spike this fall, nurses describe the difficulty of connecting patients to their families during COVID. Nurse Rhoda Morrison says her patients, their families and even hospital staff face an emotional struggle. 

“That’s not a pleasant thing as a nurse to know now that when they die, it’s just going to be you and me in the room. That’s hard,” Morrison said. 

Three years ago, Morrison, a mother of five, graduated from nursing school. She worked as a certified nursing assistant before having kids and finally achieved her goal of becoming a nurse. As a mom and a nurse, Morrison was trained to expect anything, but COVID presents many challenges for hospitals around the world that no one imagined.

“We’re getting into the season where every year, no matter COVID or no COVID, the hospital is full all the time,” Morrison said. 

But because of the risk of infection, hospitals restrict visitors. These restrictions cause problems for nursing staff.

“It’s so hard as a nursing staff. We’re just there taking care of these people day after day after day, and we’re trying to communicate with these families and give them a picture of what’s happening, but they’re not there. They’re not there to see them,” Morrison said. 

There may be a disconnect between families and patients, but nurses work tirelessly to use technology to bridge the gap made by COVID. Nurses use resources like Facetime and Google Duo to help connect families to their loved ones, even in those final hours.

“I do the best that I can, and there are tools in my tool belt to help with the end of making them comfortable and talking to the family and knowing what the patient wants. I know that at the beginning of my shift — what they want,” Morrison said. “And it’s so nice when you get to really connect with these families and get to know them and find out what makes them tick; it makes it worth it. We miss that connection; COVID has taken that piece away.”

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