That was the 4th of March 2020, just another day at work in the life of a critical care nurse. I was all set to travel back home to India on the 5th of March. My leave application was approved by the line manager. My parents were excited to welcome me back home and then this happened, a colleague of mine just came to me and asked if I received an official email from the HR for annual leave cancellation including those which were already approved. I just ignored and replied in Arabic “Khalliwalli” (which means I don’t care). Look at my confidence; I knew no one could stop me from going home. But unfortunately all leaves got canceled including mine as directed by HR. That’s when COVID19 entered my nursing life.
There were already many things that were making rounds in the society about this deadly disease which had already killed thousands in China and many others in Europe and the WHO had already crowned it as pandemic with its director-general briefing in media as follows, “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death. We have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled.”
I started treating COVID19 patients in the critical care unit. However, providing nursing care was challenging in the midst of the risk of contracting the virus.
Sharing the challenges that I came across while treating COVID19 patients-
The Personal protective equipment crisis:
The initial stages of fighting this pandemic was very scary than it ever seemed to be. The extravagant use of Personal protective equipment (PPEs), that’s where the world completely lost the initial phase of battling the coronavirus and it still, haunts every frontline health worker (FHW) around the globe. Well, the fear was so intense that the PPEs were used lavishly and unfortunately we had very few left.
Fear for life
Being a FHW, it’s important to be courageous and bold but not mandatory. FHWs are humans and its quite obvious that we too have emotions but this time around, the pandemic had blown our emotions out of proportion. There were many factors for it such as the use of social media to spread fake news and more importantly it was spreading like the bush fire in Australia. Yes! The most amongst us were becoming weak mentally and that’s where we lost the second phase of the battle. Lack of PPEs and now this mental exhaustion and fear caused by increasing cases and deaths, the fear of being contracted the disease, etc.
Ray’s of hope
We somehow managed to be ready to fight this battle. The battle of saving lives from COVID19 at the cost of risking our own. The strategies to motivate the FHW’s were developed. We needed it desperately and now it is available. The PPEs across all the units in the hospital were redistributed especially focusing more on COVID19 wards. FHW’s were provided with hotel accommodation to make sure that FHW’s were separated from their families to ensure safety and reduce transmission. The mass screening for all FHW’s was organized. Sick leave as well as medical leave provided for those staff that were battling autoimmune conditions and were pregnant. Dietary consultation was the sort to help prepare dietary changes in food consumed by FHW’s to make sure we eat the right food which helps us stay strong physically. The quick Nursing Research was given top priority to find out the missing pieces of information in fighting the virus.
Recognition and appreciation: We were called as “Living Angels”
The families of the Non-COVID as well as COVID patients kept motivating us by appreciating our efforts either by words or gifts. The police officers were so kind as to salute us on our way back home as they too were busy to ensure the safety of the public during the lockdown. We were provided by free meals by giant food restaurants like Mc Donald’s, KFCs, etc, and also discounts given by many others. The whole world had started appreciating the FHW, the nurses, THE LIVING ANGELS some called. All these efforts taken by the government, the hospital as well the citizens and residents of this country to motivate us in fighting this war against COVID 19 has been exemplary and will continue to be even amidst this recession caused by this pandemic.
The war is not over yet we still have many lives to look after, many lives still at risk, and many more left to screen. I or any other nurse will never see the caste, creed, religion, or place of origin or power dynamics to treat the patient. We are here to treat everyone without any differences.
Finally to wind up on a funny note I will treasure these pandemic memories for developing a nasal bridge pressure injury due to the use of N95 masks, the sweat that was produced after donning the PPEs, and the weight that I lost fighting this pandemic (almost 6 kgs). Nowadays I do feel a sense of being and human to serve during this pandemic situation. I thank this profession who taught me human values to treat and care when the world is under crisis. I WILL CONTINUE TO BE ONE TILL I HAVE THIS LIFE LEFT IN ME
Written by, Jaison Preetham Fernandes, Registered Nurse skilled in Critical care nursing, Critical care patient communication, Journal Writing, Nursing Research, Nursing Education, and Conference Speaker
Hobbies: Professional videographer and editor
Education: Post Graduation in critical care nursing from Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM), Mumbai, Bachelors of Nursing from Government College of Nursing, Bangalore
Facilitated by :Prashanthi Kamath, http://iaph2030.org/members/ravijakamath123/
You’ve brought the positive side out of this negative crisis.
Your motivational thought and heart of determination has lit a candle in this dark time.
May the good good God lead you through this journey of life.
Thank you for appreciating the positivity.
Well written Jaison. Felt proud and honored while reading it .
Thank you so much Mam for taking time out of your busy schedule to appreciate 😇.
Well written Jaison. Keep it up
Thank you, means so much
@jaison A beautiful expression of experiences.
After darkness comes light but we must wait to see it. This beautiful expression has come after those hardships faced and still ongoing.
@Jaison. Well written. Indeed good read about experience of a front line worker in this covid pandemic.
@Prashanth Nayak. You have always been a source of inspiration to many of us in this profession including me. Thanks for your appreciation. It means a lot.
Salute to your courage and appreciate your effort to beautifully bringing to your heart and thoughts through this article 👏🏼🤝.
Waiting for your next article Jaison.
@Aditya Naidu. Thanks for that. 🙂 Will surely take your words as motivation for writing the next one.
Thank you IAPH for providing me with this opportunity to pen down my experiences so that it could be a source of inspiration to many. Special thanks to my college mate Prashanthi Kamath, (http://iaph2030.org/members/ravijakamath123/ating) for motivating and helping me edit this blog. I hope my fellow FHWs around the world will share their experiences of COVID19 through this platform.
Jaison no words can do any justice to the noble job
you front line angles are doing! We were looking for
GOD during our regular life.., we didn’t know they
exists amongst us!!!
Thanks a lot. Your words will touch the heart of every FHW for sure.
So beautifully written. FHWs are definitely the real super hero’s and we can’t thank you all enough. Hats off to u all and God bless😊
Thanks you so much. The FHWs would never have fought this battle so long without the constant support and prayers from all of you.
Really beautifully written. FHW are definitely the real super hero’s. Hats off to u all and God bless.
Warehhh wah..!! Great job Mr Living angel. My heartly wishes to u… keep it up buddy…!!
Thanks Dosta. Wish you the same my friend.
Well written .. like an expression deep within..the natural fears and inhibition, and then soon the inward STRENGTH towards serving others for better humanity,being a nurse.
I thank you and all the nurses/ doctors ,all other front line teams.. who even with all the turmoils in mind ,go ahead consoling the needed and others too.
Thanks to you for appreciating. Your words are source of inspiration to the FHWs team.
Detailed walkthrough-could sense the risk FHWs take.Hats off for your courage. Thank you
Thanks a lot Wenissa. Means a lot. That was just a brief walkthrough though, detailed one could be more threatening than COVID 19.
Detailed walkthrough, could sense the risk FHWs take. Hats off!! Thank you
Wow! Beautifully written Jaison, Nurses are the world’s life-savers. They are risking their own health and too often sacrificing time with their family to help those suffering from COVID-19,” Very Proud of you, Obviously Living angels who all are seving in this field at crucial times. Hats off.
Thank you so much for these valuable words of appreciation. Every FHW will be very proud to see the support that you guys have been pouring in.
Beautiful jaiiiiii….. proud of you ……. world needs u
Thank you Shara. The journey has been painful but the end will be beautiful.
Bravo!! beautifully upholding your responsibilities. Salute you. We will be indebted to all the nursing care professionals forever.
Thanks a ton! A big salute to all of you who are appreciating the million living angels for their sacrifices.
These words shows ,how strong nurses are and at the same time how stressful their job is. .Hats off to all FHWs working around the world by keeping their lives at risk…
Rightly said Jipsa. If not on earth we have our shares preserved in heaven!
Great job living angel. Your live experience is projecting the fact in this article . A very respectful salute to all the living angels who are serving. And I’m proud to be a mother and mother in law of my living angels.
Thanks a lot for that support Mom. The families of FHWs. Yes! they are the unsung heroes in this battle.
Beautifully written! So proud and thankful ❤️
Thanks Shanice for your words of appreciation.