Chicago nurse on what treating COVID-19 patients is like: 'It's a really hard time right now'

The fight against coronavirus has recruited nurses who work across many different sections of hospitals -- such as one Chicago nurse reassigned from an adult inpatient psychiatry ward who weighed in on what it's like treating coronavirus patients.

Joe, who was only identified by his first name, is a registered nurse in a suburban Chicago hospital. He told MedicalNewsToday work is stressful and he oftentimes finds himself outside of his comfort zone working in different departments. However, he is not reluctant to go to work and wants to be part of the solution to the pandemic.

He was recently moved to a med-surgical floor and says it’s difficult to summarize "what goes on in one shift." But one constant is health care workers’ best efforts, said Joe.

"It's a really hard time right now," he told MedicalNewsToday.


While coronavirus-related efforts expanded into different departments around the hospital, the nurse said there is still enough capacity for additional patients.

Joe expects a progressive influx of admissions to the inpatient psychiatric units due to anxiety, depression, and paranoia issues. He described the coronavirus pandemic as a “traumatic experience for every person in the world, in a sense.”

The nurse says he tries not to worry about workdays beforehand, entering his shifts as relaxed as possible and addressing things as the day unfolds. He says spending time outdoors alone helps in relaxation.

He said that all health care workers deserve recognition on par with doctors and nurses.


“Whether that is the housekeepers being exposed to infectious material, or the respiratory therapists, the techs, nurses’ aides, the unit secretaries, security services, transporters, the front line in the hospital goes beyond the nurses and doctors,” he told MNT. “...Without everyone working together, we would not be able to battle this pandemic.”

To deal with worries related to coronavirus, Joe advises adhering to published guidelines, staying home, and keeping up-to-date on the latest recommendations. He also suggested taking advantage of online services while outpatient therapy and mental health services remain closed.

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