Nurses sacrifice family time to care for COVID-19 patients

Bismarck RN on staying away from daughter: 'I don't want her to get sick'

Last month, Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, designated an entire clinic for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It didn’t take long for steadfast front-line employees to staff the clinic.

Two of those employees are Lisa Shook and Taylor Silbernagel. They both jumped in to help and have screened hundreds of patients the last few weeks for COVID-19.

“I feel like I’m helping the community and just trying to get answers out there for the community, because I know there’s a lot of questions out there,” said Shook, a licensed practical nurse at Sanford Health in Bismarck.

The employees working at the COVID-19 clinic follow a set process. A call center is set up in the back of the clinic where nurses and other qualified screeners answer calls and go through a screening process over the phone with patients.

If a patient meets the requirements for testing, they are instructed to come to the clinic and park in a designated area. Once the patient arrives, they call the clinic again and describe the make, model and color of their vehicle.

A certified nursing assistant then puts on a mask and goes out to the patient’s vehicle. Once they reach their vehicle, the CNA gives the patient a mask, walks them into the clinic and puts them in a designated room.

“We try to keep as little contact as possible, which makes it easier for everyone,” Shook said. “It’s a pretty quick process for each patient. The workflow is very smooth and works very well.”

“I’m glad I get to be part of it,” said Silbernagel, a licensed practical nurse at Sanford Health in Bismarck. “But I didn’t think I’d ever be doing something like this in my career.”

Nor did Silbernagel envision she’d be working at the clinic long-term.

“I got asked when everything started if I wanted to pick up an extra shift,” Silbernagel said. “And then when I got here, I thought it was very interesting and wanted to stay here and help out.”

However, her decision to stay and work at the COVID-19 clinic wasn’t an one easy for her.

“I have a daughter and she’s staying with my parents right now, so I haven’t seen her for almost three weeks, just because I’ve been here and I don’t want her to get sick — or my parents,” Silbernagel said. “I know we are taking a lot of precautions here at the clinic, but there’s still that chance.”

Silbernagel is one of many health care heroes at Sanford working longs hours to take care of our communities.

“I’m glad I can help,” Shook said. “And just to be on the front lines helping and getting answers for everybody. Because I know it’s a scary situation but we’re just trying to get through it all together.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Nursing and Nursing Support, Sanford Stories