Written by seventh-grade journalism student Shelby Brann
In the shadow of the largest pandemic in over 100 years, tens of millions face unemployment, hundreds of thousands are bedridden, and tens of thousands are dead. Nevertheless, in spite of all that stands before it, the bravery and kindness of humanity marches on. No better group of people represents this statement more than our heroes in the hospitals: healthcare workers.
Nurse Practitioner Kelley Vanden Heuvel works at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Her unit is crucial, as it specializes in the care of sick or premature newborns. Since the initial spread of the virus, Vanden Heuvel’s average workday has been uphended. Before the virus, she would go bedside with a large ‘multidisciplinary team’ to discuss each baby in rounds. Now, Vanden Heuvel and her team communicate in rounds by phone to discuss each baby. A mask must be worn all day, and the employees must submit themselves to a temperature check prior to entrance to the hospital.
“The biggest change for us in the NICU is the visitor limitation. The hardest difference for me is no hugs to sad moms with sick babies,” Vandel Heuvel said.
Dr. Matthew Aresery, a hospitalist, has also faced problems in adjusting to the virus’ impact on places of healthcare. Aresery’s main job is to take care of patients in a local hospital, and nowadays, take care of patients who have come into contact with the virus.
“It’s a good idea to go online and learn a little bit more about the virus and how it’s transmitted, just to have an awareness of it. I told my little kids that, just so they have an understanding of what a virus is and how you could potentially get it,” Aresery said.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, most Americans have remained at home, away from places they could come into contact with Covid-19. For healthcare workers, coming into contact with the virus is inevitable. As a result, many healthcare workers, like Aresery, find that their daily home lives, too, have been affected by the pandemic. To speak to his family, Aresery has relied mostly on FaceTime.
“Because I have direct patient care with patients that are being tested and are maybe positive, when I go home at the end of the day I have very limited exposure with my family,” Aresery said. “That’s probably been the biggest change.”
Supplies, too, like masks, have presented their own set of issues in the healthcare world. At Aresery’s hospital, shortages have led to the sterilization of used N95 masks.
At some hospitals, shortages are of lesser concern. Precautions, however, are being taken for the time being.
“We have all of the supplies we need right now, but we’re being very judicious about what we use and are very careful not to waste things,” Vanden Heuvel said.
Ultimately, the amount of stress that has been caused by the pandemic is extremely challenging. Much of it is placed on essential workers, especially healthcare employees, whose sole job is to keep people healthy. For healthcare workers, work has become more demanding than ever, and it’s easy to forget how much these healthcare heroes do for us. In this time of uncertainty, know that healthcare workers are in our corner, fighting for the recovery of our community.
Featured image provided by Pixabay