While the pandemic has posed challenges for many, some students have had to come face to face with it as part of their jobs.
These students are certified nurses assistants (CNA’s). CNA’s work with nurses and help them with daily tasks, but with COVID, things for them have had a major change.
Senior Morgan Brady is a CNA who sometimes cares for COVID-19 patients. “Being in healthcare has been punched in the stomach a little harder than other areas of work,” Brady stated. “We have very strict PPE protocols now and are tested for COVID-19 twice a week per state law.”
Brady must now wear an N95 mask with a paper mask on top of that followed by a face shield. If she is going to be working in the COVID-19 unit she also adds another paper mask to the stack and has to wear a gown, foot coverings and gloves at all times.
Senior Maddie Hamborg, an unemployed CNA, had similar protocols. “During clinicals, we had to have a negative COVID test and we wore extra PPE. The PPE includes a masks, shield, glasses, and in some cases a protective coat.”
Brady told about her experiences with COVID-19. “Every day of work can be completely different for me right now, especially as our covid unit has gotten larger and larger over the past few months,” she said. “Hospitals are overflowing, and we have had to take patients from them to help lessen the workload.”
At times, Brady’s life is consumed by her role as a CNA. “While I’m working, I’m usually running around the whole night, rarely getting any breaks from being so busy, and answering every request a patient has. It’s hard, I won’t lie, sometimes I come home almost an hour later than when I was supposed to leave absolutely exhausted.”
Mental health is another thing that Brady has to fight as she works with fatal patients. This is not uncommon for healthcare workers, as their jobs are essential during this time. Depression, anxiety and stress levels are at record highs for these resilient workers.
“A few situations have left me crying, feeling hopeless as I watch one of my covid positive patients dying and there being nothing we can do for them,” Brady elaborated.
These students have a difficult time balancing their jobs as CNA’s and personal lives. Make sure to be thankful for your healthcare workers anytime you see them as they are working hard to keep the world safe in this trying time.