Caring for COVID-19 patients as a pulmonary nurse

Breanna works on a COVID-19 unit and got vaccinated to protect her patients and kids

A Sanford Health nurse smiles in an exam room. A computer screen behind her displays the Sanford Health logo.

Sanford Health News asked nurses to share their experiences with COVID-19 patients and their reasoning for getting vaccinated. These are Breanna’s words.

I first started as a nurse on the pulmonary unit at Sanford Health and I’ve been there now for six years.

I got vaccinated in January of 2021, shortly after it came out. I work on a COVID-19 unit, so I wanted to protect my patients and my kids who are not able to get the vaccine yet. I have an 8-month-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, so I wanted to protect my family from the severe symptoms that COVID-19 can cause.

I decided that the vaccine was right for me and my family because I trust the science behind the vaccine. I would tell people who have concerns about getting vaccinated to talk to their physician. They can answer any questions or concerns you have about side effects or any anything else you’ve heard and have questions about.

COVID-19 has been very hard on me, my co-workers and the whole hospital in general. We’ve had a surge in COVID-19 patients, but that hasn’t stopped our need to care for other diseases too.

It’s very stressful. We see people who never make it out of the hospital, and that’s been very hard on everyone.

The hardest thing for me is not knowing if my patients are going to see their loved ones again or if they’re going to be intubated and never come off a ventilator.

A lot of people have the misconception that COVID-19 is just the flu or a cold, and they will come out of it and not have lingering symptoms. That is not true. I’ve seen people that need lung transplants. I’ve seen people that are on oxygen permanently, have shortness of breath, are not able to breathe or talk on the phone with their family or get out of bed. That has been the hardest thing.

It’s much easier to get vaccinated than it is to have symptoms of COVID-19. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you until it does. Thank you for getting vaccinated.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Immunizations, Nursing and Nursing Support, Pulmonology, Sanford Stories

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