I was trained in the hospital system back in 1986 and have worked as a nurse ever since. My experience with COVID was quite different because l experienced it as a patient.
I was already in an isolation room because of my acute myeloid leukaemia diagnosis. I distinctly remember the moment it hit me that things were in dire straits: a sign was put on my door, ‘One visitor for one hour per day.’ I can tell you this sign brought tears. I was strong with my diagnosis—I knew l had one job to do and that was to fight—but not having as much contact with my family and friends made this fight even harder.
Then l started to hear the stories of the nurses: home-schooling, partners not having work, concern that they could unintentionally bring the virus to work or home. Some nurses moved in together away from their families. One nurse told me she was entering her house through her bedroom window so she wasn’t mixing with her extended family. The family delivered meals to her room. There was talk of how their skin was reacting from wearing masks all the time. Rostering was also becoming an issue.
I have always been proud to be a nurse but, after being on the receiving end of their care at such a challenging time, l have an even greater admiration and respect.