Local nurses shine a light into their worlds during pandemic

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The fallout of COVID-19 is changing the lives of people across the globe, but those who face the virus head on said they’ve been trained for this.

Shelby Staub is a nurse who works in the pediatric ICU at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. She said although the pandemic has caused many of them to make alterations to their routines, they’ve all adapted well.

“We’ve had a lot of preparation and communication to prepare us for these changes,” Staub said.

The nurses at OSF Saint Francis are trained in different areas and work in different units. Five nurses said the patients are uniting them.

“Us as nurses, we want to take care of our patients the best we can and I think that’s just built into us,” Britney Burst, a Labor and Delivery nurse, said.

“We rely on each other greatly and it’s helped kind of keep us sane and keep us calm,” Casey Miller, a bedside nurse, said.

Many said they do their best to abandon fear and give their all to their patients, but Aaron Kettleborough, a primary charge nurse, said it can get overwhelming at times.

“Taking care of these patients without family members is probably the toughest thing,” Kettleborough said.

Another nurse, Vevery Smith, said they often take on the dual role of both care giver and friend.

“It helps just to have that friendly voice to sit there and hold your hand and just let them know that we’re there for them,” Smith said. “They don’t know what’s going on or how the virus is going to attack their body so I’ll just be there for them.”

Putting bravery aside, frontline workers said they aren’t immune to the stress of COVID-19.

“Everybody in the unit is stressed about potentially getting it themselves, taking it home,” Kettleborough said. “We are taking every precaution we have not to let that happen.”

Many of the nurses said keeping their families in mind is what helps get them through the day.

“I defintey look forward to seeing my kids when I get home and my husband,” Burst said.

“I have a 10 month old son at home so it’s great coming home to see him,” Kettleborough said.

They also mentioned taking walks, exercising and getting fresh air are key to helping them reduce stress.

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