ER Nurse Reveals Experiences


Graphic by Gelila Negesse

Iveth Vanegas, Reporter

While some places closed due to COVID-19, some jobs are considered essential and must continue to work regardless of the virus. On April 11, an ER nurse decided to start her own diary of her first-hand experiences while working during the coronavirus. ER Nurse Jillian Primiano works at Wycliffe Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.   

Healthcare and public health workers are the most crucial workers as they are tending to patients who are diagnosed with the virus. A chart by WorldoMeter, a reference website that provides real-time statistics, the daily growth rate of the coronavirus is at 7 percent and has only increased since the beginning of the outbreak. With the growing amount of infections, hospitals struggle to care  for many patients at once. According to Wired, a monthly American magazine, an ER in Springfield, Massachusetts, has tripled its capacity in just three weeks. 

Overnight last week, the pediatric emergency room was converted into another intensive care unit,” ER nurse Jillian Primiano said. “Nobody wants to bring their kids to the hospital anymore, so the number of patients there has dropped to less than 20 per day.”

According to King Online, a career-focused degree program, the normal nurse to patient ratio is about 1:5, but this has changed since more patients have flooded hospitals. An article by 7 News Boston,  says that the ratio has been waived during the coronavirus pandemic, And nurses can increase their bed and care capacity without going through necessary processes. 

“At one point last week, I was caring for 10 patients, including two who had to be put on ventilators and a few who were close,” Primiano said. “That meant six minutes per patient per hour.”

CNN Health reported healthcare facilities that  are cancelling elective procedures and nonessential appointments. With this, people with health issues are in danger since they are unable to be treated due to the coronavirus. 

“Paramedics are no longer allowed to bring people in cardiac arrest to the emergency room, so many patients who we would have seen are being pronounced dead at home,” Primiano said. 

According to Vox, an American digital media company, this virus is taking a toll on nurses both emotionally and physically. Nurses are suffering with anxiety from caring patients and are having to stay away from friends and family. A survey-based study found out that out of 1,257 healthcare workers attending to COVID-19 patients, 50 percent reported experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety (45 percent), insomnia (35 percent), and distress (71.5 percent.)

“I wonder if I’ll leave in tears like I did the other day, when a lot of nurses were out sick with COVID symptoms,” Primiano said.