Many of us found the last year to be emotionally charged. This was certainly true for our nurses, too.
When asked to share her thoughts about nursing during the pandemic, Robin Coyne, RN, CRN, opted to write a letter instead of recording a video.
“If I made a video, I know I would cry!” shares the clinical coordinator of interventional radiology who works at Mercy Health – West Hospital.
“I feel that after going through the last year with COVID-19, I have been sort of re-ignited and reenergized as a nurse,” writes Robin. “While it was busier than ever… it really made me slow down and be more attentive to mental, spiritual and emotional needs of both patients and team members.”
Interventional radiology is one of the hospital units where it is especially difficult for patients to be alone.
“Interventional radiology is about 85% oncology [cancer] driven,” Robin shares in her note. “This meant that during the pandemic, they were alone. They were coming in for biopsies, ports and other procedures without a support person. They were facing a new diagnosis of cancer without someone by their side. They were feeling overwhelmed, afraid and alone. They needed someone to just sit and listen, maybe hold their hand or let them cry while someone held them.”
Robin and the unit’s other nurses quickly jump in to fill this need.
“WE became that person – we WERE their somebody. We had to rethink how we went about our day-to-day work. We needed to allow additional time to make sure we met all those needs during a very scary and difficult time. The patient’s emotional well-being needed to be met first before addressing anything physical.”
Robin and her other nurses made sure to call and speak with their patients’ family members after procedures. They reassured them and made sure they were aware of postoperative instructions and care.
At the same time, Robin felt she also needed to take care of her team members.
She writes, “all of my nurses were so afraid of COVID-19 and taking it home to their small children, so they needed reassurance and my time … Caring about patients, my staff and my family became the most important job for me.”
Looking back at the last year, Robin has taken time to reflect on this nature of caring for others.
“I found it strangely reassuring that after 37 years of nursing, the most basic thing you are taught in school – to be caring – was still not only possible for me, but still so very important. Physical procedures and practices change and evolve all the time. However, but caring does not. This past year not only reminded me of this, but in a strange way re-energized me as a nurse as well.”
Thank you to Robin and all our dedicated nurses for answering the call to nursing during such a challenging time. You mean the world to us!
Read more stories that celebrate our amazing Mercy Health nurses during National Nurses Week.
Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.