Mennonite College of Nursing prepares students to deal with the unexpected, as has been proven by graduates in hospitals across the country. Alison Alcazar ’18 reveals in her own words what life is like on the health care front lines as the pandemic continues:

I’ll never forget the first day I took care of COVID-19 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. I quickly relearned about vent settings, ET tubes, arterial lines, etc. Thankfully the nurses were willing to teach us. It was overwhelming being out of my element every day.

It is easy to focus on all the medical equipment and get so wrapped up in all the tasks for the shift that I can forget these
patients are human beings—all alone in the hospital. They have no idea when they might be able to go home. They lie in
bed and watch the coronavirus news, and it frightens them even more.

Nothing about this is glamorous. There are days where I come home so emotionally and physically drained. I shower
and go straight to bed, only to wake up and do it all again. Slowing the spread of this disease and being able to hug my family again is what keeps me going. 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.