In summary

Although it was tough to see how overworked a nurse could be treating COVID patients, I am willing to take on these challenges.

By Melissa Canales, San Diego

Melissa Canales is a nursing student at California State University San Marcos.

Re “Nurse shortages in California reaching crisis point”; Coronavirus, Aug. 26, 2021

My lifelong dream has always been to become a nurse. It is a profession that I have always held the deepest admiration and envy for. When I learned I got into the nursing program at California State University San Marcos, I was beyond ecstatic. Everything finally seemed to fall into place. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Not only did I see how much of a need for nurses there was, but it showed me how incredibly tough and brave they are. However, it was also terrifying watching their everyday struggles on the news. Once I witnessed this firsthand in the clinical setting, I felt uneasy. For the first time, I began to question the career path I chose. 

I have seen firsthand one medical-surgical nurse take on a 10-patient assignment on what was supposed to be her day off. Two other classmates and I did our best to assist her as much as we could. The nurse had a running list of assignments for us to complete and when finished, we would check them off. These included updating patient white boards, performing glucose checks, changing linens, bed baths and answering call lights. The reason for her having such a high patient assignment that day: her colleagues refused to get vaccinated and decided not to come to work, leaving her and two other nurses responsible for one floor of patients. 

Although this was a tough day to see how overworked a nurse could be, I am grateful my classmates and I were able to help her. It reinforced the reasons why I want to be a nurse. I want to help, and I want to be someone’s “right-hand” in their time of need. It is daunting to think about what it will be like once I am in the real world and not having the cushion of nursing school, but it is a challenge I am willing to take on and see through. 

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