Stories from the front lines: Alison Alcazar ‘18
The quality of education and training that MCN students receive prepares them for dealing with the unexpected—and many of our alumni have had to put that to the test.
Right now, whether it’s their first year out in the field or whether they have ten years of nursing experience behind them, our MCN alumni are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. This is the fourth in a series of stories highlighting the incredible work they are doing.
If you’re an MCN student or alum interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us here.
Alison Alcazar, BSN class of 2018
I never once thought that I would encounter a pandemic in my career.
In public health class, Paula Brown taught us how to triage a disaster. I thought to myself, I’ll never have to know this. Well, I was wrong.
I’ll never forget the first day I took care of COVID patients. I’d never seen so many patients decompensate so quickly. They went from being on two liters of oxygen to rapidly needing intubation. We quickly saw there was a dire need for critical care nurses.
We adopted a “team nursing” approach at my hospital. I acted as a resource nurse in the ICU, grabbing supplies for nurses in isolation rooms, medications, and helping reposition patients. Later, I started to take care of ICU patients, some even on ECMO. I quickly relearned about vent settings, ET tubes, arterial lines, etc. Thankfully, the nurses were all so accommodating and willing to teach us even under these stressful times.
It was overwhelming being out of my element every day. It is easy to focus on all the medical equipment and get wrapped up in all the tasks for the shift that I can forget these patients are human beings- all alone in the hospital with no family to visit them. They have no idea when they might be able to go home. They lie in bed and watch the never-ending coronavirus news and it frightens them even more.
Nothing about this is glamorous. There are days where I come home just so emotionally and physically drained. I shower and go straight to bed, only to wake up the next day and do it all over again. Slowing the spread of this disease and being able to hug my family again is what keeps me going through all of this. It is an honor to have the privilege of sending these patients home to recuperate.
Support your nurses by checking in on them, giving them a call or sending an encouraging text. None of us could have ever anticipated this, but we will continue to fight this battle and work together to achieve peace and normalcy once again.
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