FOR four months, I have not ever spoken to somebody very close to me that was diagnosed with Covid-19. But 3 weeks ago, a friend of mine who is a nurse abroad sent me a message that he is diagnosed with the said disease and is at the same time suffering from depression. I felt so sad that I am not on his side but every day I try to send him messages, at first, he responds but later, my messages were all just seen. And then just last Wednesday, another very close to my heart who is a nurse also informed me that she is in an isolation room for being positive of the same illness. But this time, she responds to my messages even at wee hours, and she tells me to take care of her kids if anything happens to her.
This is totally heartbreaking! I feel that those who passionately care for the sick are now starting to get sick. And this time they could not receive full care due to circumstances like fear, social distancing, etc.
As a friend hurting, I would want to share how nurses in general should take care of themselves during this pandemic. I do not intend to say that this can be applicable and therapeutic for all, but I am sharing this because I would want nurses to stay strong and calm during this pandemic. I know that pandemic has brought so much uncertainty as to what will happen in their future. I guess nurses can try this “NURSE” acronym as self-care.
N- Need to tell if you have symptoms of Covid-19. I believe as a nurse working in a hospital, you have the knowledge of its signs and symptoms. That is why I presumed that it is easier for you to detect symptoms, although not all may be able to do it. But have no fear to submit yourself for a Covid-19 test, although this I believe is conducted to all employees but do not wait for your schedule if you already feel the illness symptoms. Seek help the moment you feel the symptoms.
U- Unconditional care is not only for your patients but also for yourself. It is of course our duty to safeguard humanity but how do you care for others if you are sick? Use all the nursing theories you apply for your patients' care for your self-care as well. If your patients are your priority, remember that you also must prioritize yourself. Please learn to value yourself as you value your clients.
R- Refrain from having negative thoughts. Do not think that all is over for yourself. Laugh, even if it is hard to breathe. Sing even when there are tears. Trust even that heart begs you not to do so. And sleep even when you are afraid of what your dreams might bring. Remember that weak thoughts do not have the energy to carry you far.
S-Stay connected with family, relatives, and friends. Do not forget about the people around you that are ready to help you. Have no fear to communicate with them even if it is about you having Covid-19. Remember that even nurses are perceived to be like angels, but we have to get back to the reality that we are humans and even if we have all the knowledge and skills to be protected, the virus does not choose. So, do not feel awful about being sick, because as human beings we are all susceptible to any illnesses.
E- Educate yourself as always. When you were a student, you studied various subjects related to the promotion of health and prevention of illness. It was like most of the years in nursing school are planning nursing care for your patients. Plus, the sleepless nights due to case presentation preparation which everyone fears most. These are just a few of the foundations of nursing that trained nurses to set goals and provide interventions that would best help alleviate the patient suffering/s. So, how about choosing to re-educate ourselves too? Let it not be that nurses only focus on their clients' needs but also focusing on their health holistically, as they do it to their patients.
And because nurses are known to give the best care to their clients, I guess as nurses we also ought to give the best care to ourselves. And for nurses out there, please be reminded of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing words – “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear”. I guess you already know what I mean.
I do not want to end this without dedicating this to my friends and to all nurses out there who are suffering or in distress due to Covid-19. Know that you are loved!