Diving into Covid-19’s impact on nurses

Anisa Rachman, Journalism Student

From blue collar to white collar, to Students and teachers and to those who live in big cities to small towns. We have all been affected in many major ways by this virus known as Covid19 or the CoronaVirus. It has caused an enormous amount of changes that might have lasting effects. For many, it has impacted their work and what they do for a living. For one medical worker working in Iowa City, she has experienced these changes and is here to share.

Debra Wilson is one of the many nurses who work within the University of Iowa hospital. She has been personally affected by this virus just like everyone else. Besides the new norms of wearing a mask and social distancing, she is concerned for her kids, parents, and grandparents. 

Before Covid19, she explains there had been plenty of equipment for infections. If someone were contagious, there would be plenty of masks, gloves, and gowns for protection. That’s not the case anymore. 

“Things are very different,” along with temperature scans, she went on, “ I have to answer questions about whether I’m sick every time I go to work to even enter the building.” Patients are limited to the number of visitors and have a small time slot. Many of the patients and families are upset with these new requirements, but it’s all for the safety of the people. All workers are required to wear a face shield and mask, all who enter the building need a mask. There’s not the same focus on wearing gowns and masks with other contagious illnesses as there was due to lack of supplies. These are only a small list of things that have changed within the hospital.

For Debra, worrying about the patients and your health is one of the many struggles in working in these times. “There is extra stress when you’re going to work not knowing if you’re going to catch a life-threatening illness and possibly bring it home to your family.” Though there is a lot of weight and uneasiness in this kind of work, she explains that she chose the career as a nurse to help people.“At the end of the day, I feel good about what I’ve spent my day doing.” 

She described her co-worker’s reaction and emotions when Covid19 first hit as fear and stress. Many were upset with the lack of masks and gowns. “For a time there weren’t enough masks to provide at work so the workers had to bring their own from home.” That was when it first started, it has gotten better since then. “It wasn’t like it used to be where you could go to work and come home and you know, take a shower and feel normal.” She went on, “ It was almost as if you had to undress outside of the house, you didn’t want anything to come in with you that might have Covid19 on it. Everyone was especially afraid.”

She believes that everyone should wear a mask in public spaces or where they can’t socially distance themselves. “If everyone wore a mask then we wouldn’t have the problem we have today, it would already be under control.” Her advice for those at home is to clean your hands and follow the guidelines. Get tested if you believe you are sick and don’t go out in public if you are suspecting illness. “All the recommendations the doctors are giving, I think people should listen and follow those recommendations even if it is inconvenient because if everybody would just do it the inconvenience would last for a short amount of time.” She predicts that once enough of the population has had it and the numbers start going down then the restrictions will start going away. Though she believes that Covid19 will always be circulating within the population. As for now, she wishes for everyone to be safe, and be responsible in these times.