Houston ICU nurse shares stories from the front line

During this National Nurse's Week, we're taking time to thank those medical workers on the front line and checking in with them to see how things are going with the pandemic. 

We talked to a nurse manager from Houston Methodist Hospital, who works in ICU and takes care of the most serious cases of COVID-19

She says the patient count is slowing down, but they're not letting their guard down. 

"It's been peaks and valleys, definitely moments of very busy, all hands on deck, and then moments of calm, everyone enjoying a normal routine and taking care of patients. It just varies from week to week," states Samantha Brown.

She says that support from the Houston community has been beyond appreciated by medical workers.

"The support is what we need to get through it. They have come in and showed us so much love. I have never been prouder to be a nurse than right now. Our nursing staff and all peers have felt the love, we thank everyone," smiles Samantha. 

Nurses and other healthcare workers have truly become our heroes, because they have had to take on new roles during the pandemic.  Since loved ones can't be at the bedside of their critically ill loved ones, nurses have had to take on the role of pastors and family members.

"That has been a tough part, having to reinvent how we are as nurses care for individuals. We're used to interacting with them, used to be touchy-feely, definitely including the family in what we do, but how do we incorporate the families when they can't visit? The staff is taking it hard, but learning new ways. We got creative with Skype and text messages to update families, so they can make sure they have what they need and families are taken care of. We're explaining everything to the patient, so they know their health is number one and everything we can to make sure they can get back home to their families," explains Samantha.

It has also been a challenging time for nurses to figure out how to make the equipment more comfortable. You may have seen photos of medical workers with swollen faces from their tight masks.

"We're used to wearing a mask in our normal practice, however wearing it for a full shift has definitely created a lot of challenges, but we've had great support from our leadership and have kept us aware of what and how to wear it, and over-communicating that to us has made it better. We can make sure we have evidence behind what we're doing and it's the proper way to protect ourselves, and that has helped us.  I won't make it light that it was easy, but it definitely feels better when you know why we're doing what we do, so we can protect ourselves. Right now, it's not as busy as the beginning. I can't say we don't have patients we're monitoring, but it has slowed down a lot since it first started," says Samantha. 

She goes on to say that there's no way she could have ever imagined that a pandemic like this would take over the entire world.

"I would read it in a text book, but not be living it. I can't believe it. I know looking back once this is over is going to be like, wow we made it through it, but thank God that He's protecting us through all of it," says Samantha.

Thank you Samantha and all medical care workers for making our world a better place.

For more information: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/