Reflections on Covid-19 and nursing: Whitney Herndon

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Whitney Herndon is an operating room nurse. COVID-19 has changed her and her job.

When you first heard about Covid-19, what were your thoughts?

I have to admit that at first, I was a little ignorant to it despite being a nurse and felt it was being blown out of proportion. Now I know that it is something that is a very real threat to us that we all are obviously taking very seriously.

Did you think it would come here to Colleton?

Once it came to the U.S. and South Carolina, yes. I was just hopeful that it wouldn’t be as prevalent in our community as it was in the bigger cities.

How did your job change because of the virus?

I am a nurse in the operating room, so our roles changed quite a bit. Because of the virus, we have done fewer surgeries resulting in reduced hours and being assigned to other areas in the hospital that we were not familiar with. We are beginning to do more surgeries, so I am hopeful that things are getting better.

What concerns did you have about working as a nurse during the pandemic?

Of course, one of my main concerns was having a higher risk of potential exposure to the virus. However, I think most of us are very cognizant of how important hand washing is and how to correctly use our PPE to decrease that risk of exposure. I was also concerned about the potential loss of income I faced.

What concerns did you have for your family and did you interact with them during the quarantine?

My biggest concern for my family has been, of course, the fear that they might contract the virus, especially my father and grandparents as they are at higher risk due to their age. I’ve only had minimal contact with my family during the quarantine. Not being able to hug my parents and grandparents has probably been the most difficult thing for me.

How has the virus impacted the entire hospital?

Things are definitely different now, but I think everyone at the hospital is doing a great job learning how to navigate this new normal. We carry on and do what we have to do to keep our patients safe as well as ourselves.

In what way do you think life has changed for everyone due to the pandemic?

I think there have definitely been a lot of changes for everyone during this time. People have to adapt to a whole new way of life. Some are home-schooling, working from home, facing a loss of income, as well as loss of human contact. What is horribly sad to me is the patients who have passed and the sadness that their families must feel not being able to comfort them or say goodbye. On a more positive note, I hope that families are using this time to appreciate one another and realize how precious each day is. When all is said and done, I hope we become stronger and more resolved as a result of this pandemic.

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