By Ana Carolina Aguiar
The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the need for first responders in the medical field. These workers have always been dedicated to their jobs, but the Coronavirus showed them what it means to be on the frontlines in an unprecedented way.
Frontline workers were not only responsible for the lives of their patients, but also for keeping their families safe after being exposed to the virus day in and day out.
Nurse Lourdes Estevez from Baptist Hospital said COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge this year. Estevez graduated from Barry with a bachelor’s degree in 2006 and received her masters as an acute care nurse practitioner in 2010.
Estevez notes that during the pandemic there were small changes in her daily routine at work that came together to exacerbate the challenges of her job.
For example, when the pandemic first began, Estevez and her team did not have personal protective equipment (PPE). When it came time to check in with patients, this posed quite an issue. On top of that, Estevez notes that there was stress surrounding the “constant changes with regards to treatment plans.”
According to Healthgrades, because there is no cure for COVID-19, hospitals have had to use what is referred to as “supportive care.” This treatment aims to support the body’s vital organs, although it is different depending on the severity of each patient.
Since there aren’t any FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19, Healthgrades notes that some doctors use antibiotics and antiviral drugs to treat patients. These varying kinds of treatments made caring for patients especially difficult, said Estevez
What was scariest for Estevez, however, was when she contracted the virus. Even worse, she ended up giving it to her husband and children.
“That was a super stressful time,” she said.
She also mentions that the second surge of COVID-19 was very overwhelming to work in.
At Baptist Hospital, Estevez conducts physical assessments and checks patient history during the admissions process. Often, she saw patients arriving to the hospital in critical condition.
“The patients who needed to come to the ER wouldn’t come out of fear of catching COVID-19,” said Estevez. “When they would come, their illnesses were so advanced, and they were so very sick.”
Now, however, Estevez notes that the pandemic is better than it was in July, but her hospital is still experiencing an influx of patients.