TULSA, Okla. — Medical workers across the nation have faced long hours, stress, and uncertainty over the past couple months. They worry about bringing the virus home to their families, and constantly think about their patients.
They say as they look back on the pandemic so far, they will think about those patients, but they will also remember the support they’ve received along the way.
“We all signed up to do this. Before this pandemic, we were doing this job,” said Dr. Tim Nokes, a critical care specialist at Saint Francis. "It feels really good. You can ask anybody doing any work, when people say thank-you a lot it’s invigorating. It makes you want to go back to work and do a good job.”
Life has looked different inside hospitals for the past couple months, as units have shifted to caring for COVID-positive patients, and employees have worked wherever they're needed.
"Usually 12 hour days, sometimes longer," Dr. Nokes said. "Fortunately we’ve had enough staff to give ourselves breaks, which is vital. You can’t stay here all the time.”
As hospitals begin to move back to normal operation, Saint Francis is testing employees for antibodies to find out if the virus has been in their system.
Hospital officials say on Monday, 1,700 employees had been tested, and less than 1% were positive. If tested positive, employees can get a COVID-19 test to find out if they are positive.
Staff have been able to stay healthy because they care for patients in extra protective gear, and change their gear room-to-room depending on the patients they're seeing.
They enter each room expecting something much different than the one they left, and always need to be ready if a patient quickly takes a turn for the worse.
Medical staff say they think about their patients as they look back on the pandemic, but when the routine eventually does go back to normal, they will never forget the support they’ve received that has gotten them through it all.
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