Nurses’ Week taking on new meaning for area ICU nurse

"These days, it's an unknown area when it comes to what you're coming into,"

Nurses Week continues across the land, and it comes at a time when those on healthcare’s frontlines are more needed than ever. Before the week even got its start, the public was already trying to show nurses and other healthcare professionals how much they’re valued. But is that enough to get them through the crisis, or even the workday?

“It’s been amazing the amount of support from the community,” said Yvonne Maloney, an ICU nurse at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. “Driving into work, you see lots of signage and what have you. And we’ve been having lots of donations of food and baked goods from various different people. The Cub Scout provides some baked goods earlier in the week with little handmade cards, which is really cute. It kind of makes you feel valued when you see the appreciation,”

Nurse

Maloney tells Barrie 360 she feels the attention nurses are getting of late may overshadow some of the other good work being done by others on the team. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time and we are a big part of hospitals, but there’s a lot of other people that work here that always don’t get in. You know, like environmental services that keep things clean. The respiratory therapists, they’re the people that are right on the line when intubating patients, they are face-to-face with the patient. And of course, the doctors and physios dieticians, everybody. We’re all a team.”

Despite a team effort, the day still takes its toll. “These days, it’s an unknown area when it comes to what you’re coming into,” said Maloney, “We always expect critical patients obviously, but with the COVID outbreak that’s on right now, when you come to work, you’re not sure whether you’re going to be looking after a patient that is COVID positive or could potentially be COVID positive,”

“There is heightened anxiety among staff in general, but we do use our protection and use PPE wisely. And we anticipate that people that are coming in could have COVID so we do take extra care,” she added.

“We all kind of look out for each other. Some very difficult times, challenging times. The people we’ve had in here, some of the patients that have had COVID have not survived, unfortunately, and it is very stressful dealing with that. Normally in the ICU, we are very family-centered, and we have a big presence, join around on a normal day,” concluded Maloney.