Mey Rasul

Mey Rasul (BSN ’20) is an RN at Baptist East Emergency Department. She graduated during the pandemic shutdown.Mey Rasul

Completing my final semester during a pandemic was definitely an adjustment. It had its pros and cons. It was nice to be able to be home more with my family versus being gone for classes or clinicals much of the time. It also made time management something I had to master (even more) and much more quickly because I WAS home more often. It’s easier to put assignments and studying off when you don’t have the set schedule and strict routine that you’re used to having. I got the best of both worlds when it came to clinical. I was able to go about half of the semester in person and be hands on and, when the pandemic hit, half of the semester completing online simulations. I personally found this helpful because 1) There is no experience like the one-on-one hands on experience you’ll get with real life patients, and 2) The ability to restart the online simulations for each disease process over and over until you fully understand the flow, role, and expectations of the scenario was super helpful, because you can’t hit “start over” in real life.

I was definitely nervous to start my career in the middle of a pandemic, especially as a nurse in the emergency department where we will probably face it first and more often than other areas. I wasn’t sure how it would affect my orientation period or was it worth risking bringing it home to my family. It was a hard decision, but after speaking with the manager, she reassured me that my orientation would definitely not be affected and that the hospital had several protocols in place to protect their patients, staff, and families.

I am proud to be an ED nurse working through this pandemic. It is definitely a fast-paced environment to be in, and you really can’t always survive without all the teamwork we have there. However, I still do have that worry in the back of my mind that I’ll somehow bring something home, even though I take all precautions in and outside the hospital. Unfortunately, this seems to be the new normal and something we’ll have to live with for a long while.

I think my nursing education prepared me well. Of course you won’t ever feel as if you know enough coming out of school and into the real world, but I have to keep reminding myself that I know more than I realize I do (but I also still have a ton to learn). It all boils down to basics and remembering the training that I’ve had and trying to not second guess it or myself.

I see a COVID-19 patient almost every shift. I have had days where my entire section was COVID positive. Although it’s hard from my perspective, we have to remember the patients’ perspectives also. We are able to step outside of those rooms and move on with our days and be “free” at some point. One of my patients said he felt as if he was in a “COVID prison,” and that really hit home for me. I definitely started taking a little more time in each room to try to talk to and connect with the patients after that because I lost sight of the big picture when I was only focused on the tasks that needed to be done. I will definitely make the holistic care that I was taught in school a priority from now on. Yes, they are physically sick, but we have to try to keep their mental and spiritual parts from becoming sick to, and unfortunately, the hospital is an easy place for that to happen. Especially now with limited or no family visiting and the inability to even just walk the halls. The rooms we have in the ED don’t even have windows, so they aren’t even aware of the time of day without looking at the clocks. It really is harder on those who are sick versus those who are caring for them because we pretty much control all aspects of their care and life when they are with us. So again, I am proud to be able to be working and helping in these times, but I also feel that I can and will continue to do more.

My advice to those in college right now is to manage your time wisely. Don’t just try to pass the exams – absorb and truly learn as much as you can in your studies and clinicals – you will need ALL of that information again. It does not get easier when you start working, in fact, it is much harder, especially at the beginning, but it is totally worth it in the end.