Nurse talks about being on front lines of COVID-19 fight

Posted at 3:14 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 00:31:16-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A nurse at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in downtown Colorado Springs talked about her experience fighting COVID-19 from the front lines.

Jessica Yoo is the Nursing Supervising RN at Memorial Hospital.

She said trying to save lives and battling an invisible enemy is taking a toll on health care workers physically and mentally.

Yoo said since guests are limited inside the hospital, they meet families where they are at, and do their best to provide them with updates on their loved ones. "If the family says 'can we call at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and get an update?' Absolutely, we give families the room numbers so they can call in and speak directly to patients, and we also give them, each nurse carries a Spectralink, we give the numbers to the nurses Spectralink, so they can call," said Yoo.

Yoo also said they are focused on the importance of PPE, ventilators, and negative pressure rooms which isolate air from the rest of the hospital. "Patients that we would have seen before on a ventilator for three or four days, are now on ventilators, seven, ten, up to two weeks... Every shift, every 12 hours, we're maintaining how many rooms we can turn into negative air flow, as well as how many are currently in use," said Yoo.

Yoo's routine after work has also changed, to protect her family. "I have a very specific area in the garage, my shoes stay in that area. I strip down in the garage, my clothes go straight into the washing machine, and my kids and husband know not to say 'hi' for fear that my little ones would run up and give me a hug. I go straight to the shower and I meet up with them after that," said Yoo.

Yoo said those in the medical field never want to see this type of health emergency, but there is hope after every difficult shift battling this virus that has changed all of our lives.

"I think we all find hope and joy and the fact that patients to go home and we are seeing patients go home, and for us we celebrate with every discharge, because we know that for every discharge here there's another discharge somewhere else, and we know that if patients are going home to recover, then there's hope, that we can get through this," Yoo said.

She also said with patients separated from their families and loved ones, medical staff at hospitals play a key role in helping patients recover, even while dealing and coping with their own stress.

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