“I just want this all to be over.”
I hear this on a daily basis from friends, patients, co-workers — even from my own children. Although vague, I don’t have to guess that what they are referring to in this statement is the COVID-19 pandemic. Though opinions regarding the seriousness of the virus vary, I think we all share the same sentiment— we’re over it.
I work as a nurse in family practice at the Yankton Medical Clinic and I see the toll this virus has taken on my patients and my coworkers. Health care workers are often stretched thin even on a good day, but COVID has definitely redefined what it means to go the extra mile. I witness the receptionists gracefully shift between answering non-stop incoming phone calls to checking in patients for appointments, to answering questions from patients who walk in, to assisting the nurses and providers with different requests. Although I know their head is likely spinning, they do it all with a smile on their face.
I see my fellow nurses going back and forth between telehealth appointments and regular appointments, running outside to swab patients, putting on and taking off PPE in record time, all the while trying to keep up with responding to phone calls from patients in a timely manner.
It’s been an overwhelming several months for everyone, but it has deepened my gratitude for the entire staff at the clinic. It’s not just the providers and nurses who are putting in extra work — it’s everyone, including those that are behind the scenes, ones you might not ever come in contact with during your trips to the clinic, or maybe only talk to on the phone. I’m also grateful for the patients who have granted us grace when they may have to wait a little longer than usual. Your kindness doesn’t go unnoticed.
Regardless of how you may feel about COVID in general, I think we all can agree it has certainly taken a toll on health care workers across the world. I am proud and grateful to work in a facility with so many compassionate people who are willing to adapt, to help, and to give even more of themselves during this time.