COVID-19 impacts medical personnel

Alyssa Storm

COVID-19 has taken its toll on the world.

Americans have lost graduations, lost jobs and are steadily losing patience due to the virus.

Two medical personnel who have had to fight this virus head on are sharing their story. 

Jessica Barth, a level two nursing student at Washburn University, has had an “interesting” semester of work to say the least.

Barth worked as a PRN at a Topeka hospital. PRN is a Latin phrase that translates to “as needed or as the situation arises;” for Barth, this means working a lot at the beginning of the crisis. 

Working in the medical field, every day is a new case – COVID-19 takes that to extreme measures.

“With COVID-19, every medical person goes into work and they have no idea what work is going to entail,” said Barth. “Things were changing every single day, protocol was changing.”

Adriana Almarez, a coworker of Barth, explained why being on the front lines is scary.

“I work in the respiratory clinic; we are in direct contact with patients who may have it. We may be taking that home to our families,” said Almarez. 

The nurses who are testing are fully geared up in gloves, a face shield and a PAPR suit that has air pumping through it. 

Being an essential worker at this time might sound great, but it is much harder than people think.

Almarez explains how laborious the job is.

“We only deal with respiratory patients. We are outside in a tent even today when it’s raining and crappy outside; we are out here all day long,” said Almarez. “When you signed up to be a nurse, you didn’t sign up to be working in these conditions, but we’re doing it and we’re getting through it.” 

Barth explains how she has seen both sides of the virus – being an essential worker and someone who is stuck at home.

“I was working more in the beginning because they needed more people to work. Then things started to slow down a bit. I haven’t worked as much. You know, people are stuck in the house and getting stir crazy and bored. You can only watch so much Netflix,” said Barth. 

Everyone processes the COVID-19 impact differently.

Almarez and Barth explain how aggravating it is to see people disregard safety guidelines.

“Yesterday’s protest was a little frustrating because they’re all together and hardly any of them were wearing a mask. Then in a couple of weeks, we’ll probably see a lot of [those] people come through our drive-thru,” said Almarez.

Barth explains that it is exasperating to witness people dismiss local and national safety orders put in place to protect citizens. 

“They’re [public officials] telling everybody to stay home because it’s for their own good. They’re not trying to take away people’s freedom,” said Barth.

Edited by Wesley Tabor, Diana Martinez-Ponce, Hannah Alleyne