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By Eloise – Nursing Unit Manager (Navigator) of a Major Public Emergency Department in NSW.

To read articles about nurses raw experiences during COVID19 go here

To write for The Nurse Break go here

Nursing during a pandemic

Who would’ve thought that we’d become public heroes?

The accolades are great but can we get the cases down to zero?

As I take my scrubs off, and wash away the day.

The memories of COVID, stick to me like a stain. 

Nursing itself is a unique way of living.

But since 2019, it’s evidently a battle to be in. 

My team is stressed out; they are stretched to their limits.

Every part of their day is fear, down to every minute. 

Gone are the days when we wore PPE.

Only for those people, that had signs of TB. 

To think we aren’t half way through this ordeal.

The memories of before, I just want to steal. 

I never use to worry I’d carry a disease. 

Straight home to my family, I just want a moment of reprieve. 

How much do I tell them, do I admit this is scary as shit?

Or do I say I’m ok, and that ignorance is bliss?

In the ED, traumatic things happen.

We witness and are a part of, some major life transitions. 

Ingrained in our practice, we connect humans to their loved ones. 

During that last breath of life, we will hold you, and then some. 

More than ever now, is a time to be there for our patients.

Listen to their words, touch their hearts, for the families that are at a distance. 

Listening to the people that don’t want the vaccine,

To me hearing it all is somewhat obscene.

These injections are a privilege, a second layer of protection.

But you go and march and fight, for allegedly your freedom.

The overwhelming pressures to carry the ED.

Hundreds of people are here, but sometimes I feel like it’s just me. 

Countless nurses resigning, burnout from all of this.

I don’t know how to help them, or get the work we do back to being bliss.

This virus has changed us, for better or for worse. 

But looking back on it all, I guess it isn’t a first. 

Clinicians have been here, they’ve done this before. 

It’s almost like a day at work, is like going off to war. 

But as we continue to adapt, and become innovators,

This is a time of my career that will never be faded. 

A part of me wants us, the document it all.

Our future nurses will learn from us, I know that for sure. 

As my mask starts to mould, a new form of face, 

Some days I just ask, for a little bit of space. 

As you turn up to work to face another day,

Know that this feeling will soon fade away. 

It will become the new norm, and how exponentially you have grown. 

The gift of life and your amazing work, will soon be shown. 

Maybe no one will get it, but don’t worry I do. 

I know you’re ok, but feel a little broken too. 

We will get through it, yes you reading this!

And I thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in. 

So as we hug each other, with of course gown and goggles,

Let our laughter and smiles wash clean all of our troubles. 

Now wipe those tears away you have a job to do,

But don’t ever forget, I’m here, right with you.