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New to the field and feeling guilty

by telephone2468 telephone2468 (New) New Pre-Student

Hi all,

First off, I want to thank everyone on this forum for sharing their experiences. I thought long and hard about posting this because my experience seems trivial, but I wanted to share my thoughts anyway.

I’m not a nurse (yet, I just got accepted to a BSN program), but am currently an on-call NA at a SUDS facility. I was really excited about this job, as I want to work in public health as a nurse, but then covid hit and I’m becoming increasingly weary of going to work.

We are still admitting patients from the general public. Most are unhoused folks who are severely immunocompromised, and we have no way of testing them during admission. It’s a temp and symptom screen only. There are policies put in place to encourage social distancing at mitigate spread, but the facility still houses very vulnerable people in a dorm setting. I’m becoming increasingly worried that the virus will be brought into the clinic and spread like wildfire among these compromised patients. Or even that I’m a carrier and I have already/will infect patients or my coworkers. Management continues to maintain that we are low risk, but I just can’t shake this bad feeling of impending disaster. I feel like I’m being gaslit with no ground to stand on, and that I am abandoning my duty to help these people who are struggling. Policies are constantly changing with miscommunication, and I haven’t even been fully trained on all of my job duties.

Some workers in our clinic were able to get properly fitted N95s, but then I was told surgical masks are more than acceptable and I’m not able to get fitted. I know we aren’t an active covid facility, but how can we know that for sure? PPE is now locked up and only accessible via the management. I’ve had the same non-fitted N95 and face shield for weeks.

I feel so strongly that I want to help people, but I also don’t want to risk my health or the health of my patients right now. I don’t want to add to the surge of cases in my community. I also feel like our PPE could be put to use in our local hospitals, and that I don’t deserve to wear any at all because I’m not working with known covid+ patients.

Long story short, I’m scared too, but I feel guilty for being scared because I’ve been told I’m not in that much danger. I don’t know what to think or what information to trust at this point, and I am prepared to walk away.

Naturally Brilliant, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

You shouldn't feel guilty over your feelings. This is a sentiment I'm sure that most nurses will agree with me on, and something you'll probably accept in your healthcare career: Management and administration will inevitably screw you over and try to make you accept it as the best situation possible.

In George Orwell's 1984, remember that the state didn't win because they destroyed Winston. They won because they got him to love Big Brother while accepting his death at the hands of the state.

When they've convinced you that their best interests are your best interests too, that's when you know they've done their job right.

@Naturally Brilliant Excellent response, thank you for your perspective. You raise great points re: the inevitable influence/control of management, and I think I’m only just beginning to see that truth.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

You're not the only one feeling torn about the direction their employer is taking. I am fortunate I started a new job not long before this hit and my current employer is being very proactive and not skimping on PPE, at least not yet. For whatever reason this company seems to be better prepared than most.

My former co-workers on the other hand work in a skilled nursing facility and even before the brown stuff really starting the hitting the fan they were seeing some PPE shortages. It started with gloves right before I left and only got worse as things progressed. I feel bad for them as nursing homes seem to be particularly hard hit. Fortunately they have not had any positives yet that I am aware of, hopefully it stays that way.

While I do worry for them, I have come to realize their lack of preparedness is not unique. Nor unexpected. Administration surely was not prepared. It seems they didn't try very hard to stockpile some very needed PPE before it hit stateside. I feel like they had enough warning and should have been more prepared for what they knew was probably coming.


Has 5 years experience.

I just applied to an accelerated BSN program. I feel obligated and want to help those affected. If I was suffering, I would want others to help.