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Before the pandemic, most of us took nurses for granted. After all, we only saw them when we were about to experience some kind of pain. They were kind, reassuring, and prepped us for what was about to come. Still, many of us were too self-focused to appreciate them fully.
Then the pandemic hit. Nurses became the frontline defense. There weren’t enough of them. They weren’t trained to handle a pandemic of this proportion — nobody was.
They’d seen plenty of blood before, and offered their share of comfort, but the weight of hospitals overrun with grieving families and the worry for their own families was nearly apocalyptic. Yet they responded. And they are still responding. Meet three of them:
Claudine Bruff-Lopes is a registered nurse (RN) in Brockton, Massachusetts. In the midst of the pandemic, she sent her 8-year-old son to live with her parents while she worked for three months straight, with no days off.
“I worked full-time Monday through Friday. On Friday, I would get off at 5 p.m. and take a nap before picking up an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. I would work Saturday and Sunday, then back to my full-time job on Monday,” Claudine explains. “Patients needed me; they needed a compassionate nurse to hold their hands during this crazy time. I prayed for the world … but the world needed me to take care of its sick, too.”
Krystal Burdine is a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was drawn to health care after personal tragedies in her family motivated her to be more than a bystander. She lost a sister to cerebral palsy and her mother to a heart attack and watched her diabetic father’s health decline.
“My early life forced me to come up with a solution to help others in any way possible,” Krystal says. “During this pandemic, I am constantly challenged to put my skills to the test. On a daily basis, I nurse severely ill patients at their most vulnerable state. To me, nursing is something deeply personal. It is about making a difference in people’s lives.”
We sometimes forget that during the pandemic, there are other needs as well. Denise Pegram, an LPN in Reading, Pennsylvania, works in a residential care facility. While she was working in the dementia unit, one resident was very difficult to deal with.
“I made it my mission to work with this resident to see if I could somehow make her day and put a smile on her face. I made time to sit down and talk to her.” Denise discovered that this person was really just lonely and misunderstood. And yes, she did eventually smile.
We all need a hero in our lives; someday, it will be a nurse.GRATITUDE...PassItOn.com
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