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Covid-19: The Guilt of the Work From Home Nurse

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 3,786 Profile Views; 60 Posts

Are you feeling guilty, too?

How Covid 19 is affecting my life.

Covid-19: The Guilt of the Work From Home Nurse
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Each day I wake up for another day the same as yesterday

I make my coffee and turn on my computer, browsing my emails before anything else.

For the last several weeks, there are constantly new updates surrounding Covid-19.

New training guidelines, new questions to discuss with patients, changes from the CDC and updates regarding medication dispensing.

Help for the fight

There are also constant requests from state governors, healthcare agencies and boards of nursing requesting additional healthcare personnel to help fight this virus.

Requesting nurses to come out of retirement. Waiving reinstatement fees and extending licensure renewals. They are almost begging.

My heart races and my stomach drops – I feel guilty

My social media feeds are flooded with pictures and videos of nurses crying, quitting their jobs due to fear, risking their lives working without proper PPE, or simply braving the virus and taking a risk because of their oath of caring for others cannot be shaken.

Should I be out there?

I stepped away from the bedside in 2018. I was fortunate to find a position as a Case Manager with the added benefit of working from home. I am young and do not have a family I am supporting or worried about spreading the virus to. I should be out there. In fact, I did reach out to my employer about the possibility of taking leave to help on the frontlines, but this was not granted. I would be lying if part of me wasn’t a tiny bit relieved.

I believe that most nurses, healthcare professionals in general, have a sense of needing to help. If you ask a nurse why they chose their profession, that is likely the answer you will receive. We seem to naturally possess traits of compassion, selflessness, and empathy. We are also (usually) stellar at teamwork and critical thinking. Unfortunately, the traits of a nurse can be detrimental. To ourselves. We tend to put the oxygen mask on someone else before ourselves, metaphorically speaking. We do not often make ourselves a priority. I partly blame our healthcare environments for this. They have conditioned us to accept more responsibility with less support. To be a “team player.” To pick up extra shifts when we are exhausted. To work when we are unwell ourselves. And now, nurses are being exposed to a deadly virus and are not being provided basic PPE, yet they are expected to accept these conditions without complaint.

There is not a soul that does not support our frontline nurses during this time. Truthfully, I do not feel there is enough being done to support them (free donuts and shoes is barely a band-aid) but that is an article in itself…

I am grateful and I am necessary

At the end of the day I am grateful I do not have to make the decisions our frontline nurses do. I must remind myself that the work I do is also helpful and necessary. That I am still supporting my patients in a different manner by educating them, ensuring they have necessary supplies and medications and that they are staying home, in turn hopefully making a small dent in lessening the burden of hospitals and our brave nurses.

I hope that nurses are feeling confident enough in their WORTH to make the decisions that are right for them and their families. To know that their fear is valid and if they are scared or feeling unsupported that they need to use their voices. Remember that nursing is so vast with so many opportunities, and if your employer does not value you in a crisis, they do not deserve you.

Lastly

I want our frontline nurses to know that we stand with them in solidarity. We are crying and praying along with them. We admire their sacrifice and will never judge whatever tough decisions they may make during this time.

 

maybug has 8 years of experience as an ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in Case Management.

2 Articles; 3,786 Profile Views; 60 Posts

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Curious1alwys has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in tele, ASC, cardiac rehab.

1,237 Posts; 16,817 Profile Views

That's like the guilt you feel when you've left bedside for some time and you feel like you miss it. It's not real. 🤣😏

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 60 Posts; 3,786 Profile Views

15 minutes ago, Curious1alwys said:

That's like the guilt you feel when you've left bedside for some time and you feel like you miss it. It's not real. 🤣😏

Haha, I definitely don't miss bedside nursing.

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11 Posts; 471 Profile Views

I understand your feelings of guilt. I have them myself from time to time. I had been working per diem in home health when the coronavirus hit the US. I also live with my elderly mother who has history of respiratory problems. At her insistance, I stepped away from my job and have been isolating at home with my mother. I would feel just horrible if I brought this devastating virus home to my her! I have never caught anything in the past from a patient, nor brought any diseases home in 20 years of being a nurse in numerous healthcare facilities. It is just not worth the risk right now! I'm keeping up with the other elderly residents in our condo community, making masks, and organizing online grocery deliveries. I may not be on the frontlines with all the nurses and doctors, but I'm doing my part on the homefront! Stay safe everyone!

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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13 minutes ago, RN0599 said:

I'm keeping up with the other elderly residents in our condo community, making masks, and organizing online grocery deliveries. I may not be on the frontlines with all the nurses and doctors, but I'm doing my part on the homefront! Stay safe everyone!

Bless you, @RN0599 🙂

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4 Posts; 297 Profile Views

Yes! I also work from home in case management. I said this exact thing to my husband yesterday. I am torn between the safety of my remote position and going back to acute care to help out.

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Gabriela Flores has 4 years experience as a ADN and specializes in MedSurg/Peds/School Nursing.

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My exact thoughts everyday that I wake up to the news and the videos of nurses suffering. I stepped back from hospital nursing In the Med surg Pediatrics unit in 2018 after 2 years and went into neurology as an infusion nurse at an office. Left that in 2019 to become a School Nurse for 2 Middle schools. I have little ones and they are my priority and the time I get with them by working at the school is great. But ever since I left the hospital I don’t feel like a “ real” nurse. More than ever right now I feel like a “ lazy” nurse, my schools are closed down so I am home with my kids. I am constantly thinking “ is it worth going for a few weeks to help out?” “ is it worth knowing I may give this virus to my 3 year old who has severe asthma and is constantly getting sick?” No. It isn’t. It is still hard to make myself feel better about not being there with all my nursing friends fighting this pandemic head on. And I am, quite frankly, embarrassed sometimes to say I am a school nurse :/. School nursing is another world of its own and it is extremely overwhelming sometimes . I am grateful that I don’t have to risk my families health by working at the hospital but the guilt can sometimes be more :/

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 60 Posts; 3,786 Profile Views

4 hours ago, RN0599 said:

I understand your feelings of guilt. I have them myself from time to time. I had been working per diem in home health when the coronavirus hit the US. I also live with my elderly mother who has history of respiratory problems. At her insistance, I stepped away from my job and have been isolating at home with my mother. I would feel just horrible if I brought this devastating virus home to my her! I have never caught anything in the past from a patient, nor brought any diseases home in 20 years of being a nurse in numerous healthcare facilities. It is just not worth the risk right now! I'm keeping up with the other elderly residents in our condo community, making masks, and organizing online grocery deliveries. I may not be on the frontlines with all the nurses and doctors, but I'm doing my part on the homefront! Stay safe everyone!

Anyone who makes a tough decision right now to make themselves and their family a priority is making the right decision, IMO.

Thank you for making a difference in your community!!

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 60 Posts; 3,786 Profile Views

3 hours ago, melaniekrn97 said:

Yes! I also work from home in case management. I said this exact thing to my husband yesterday. I am torn between the safety of my remote position and going back to acute care to help out.

The money also makes it oh so tempting... I have to remind myself I am so blessed that I am not in a position to contract this disease (at least very unlikely compared to working 1:1 with infected patients). How would we feel if we became sick, potentially losing our lives or infecting those we love?

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 60 Posts; 3,786 Profile Views

2 hours ago, Gabriela Flores said:

But ever since I left the hospital I don’t feel like a “ real” nurse. More than ever right now I feel like a “ lazy” nurse, my schools are closed down so I am home with my kids. I am constantly thinking “ is it worth going for a few weeks to help out?” “ is it worth knowing I may give this virus to my 3 year old who has severe asthma and is constantly getting sick?” No. It isn’t. It is still hard to make myself feel better about not being there with all my nursing friends fighting this pandemic head on. And I am, quite frankly, embarrassed sometimes to say I am a school nurse :/. School nursing is another world of its own and it is extremely overwhelming sometimes . I am grateful that I don’t have to risk my families health by working at the hospital but the guilt can sometimes be more 😕

You are making the right choice. Our own lives and our families are just as precious as those we serve. I hope you are able to overcome your feelings of embarrassment and not feeling like a "real nurse." As long as you are in a specialty and environment you love, that is all that matters. I'm assuming you left those others roles for a reason. Don't forget those reasons. We all have to do what's best for ourselves, and hospital nursing is not for everyone. Some nurses thrive on the adrenaline and assessments/interventions of acute care and some of us (me) work better behind the scenes. We are so lucky that our profession offers so many opportunities!

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3 Posts; 276 Profile Views

I feel your guilt myself, so much. I’ve been in NP school and working per diem at a surgery center, which has since stopped doing cases so beyond finishing school for the semester, I’m out of luck with work as I have been an OR nurse for the last 6 years.

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anewsns has 8 years experience and specializes in Neurosciences, stepdown, acute rehab, LTC.

310 Posts; 5,177 Profile Views

I think about nurses who are away from the line of fire all the time. If you came to the front lines, we would need another nurse to take your position. So unless you really want to go back to bedside, its not totally necessary as you would still be leaving an open and necessary position for another nurse

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