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States are reopening. As a nurse who takes care of COVID, how do you personally feel about going out and seeing people?

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I can’t figure out how to change my handle, but I’ve now been a nurse for 4 years, and I’m the ED for 2. I of course see positive COVID patients, but I always wear the proper PPE, don and doffing appropriately, change out of my scrubs at work, and shower as soon as I get home. Other than work, I’ve left my house very minimally and only saw a few select people from over 6 feet away. I’ve done my best to follow all state guidelines.

The area where I live is starting phased reopening next week. I already have been invited to a (very small) family gathering after that time. I know most people in my life will very cautiously start to begin some sort of normal life. But my question for my fellow nurses is this: as someone who takes care of COVID patients, at what point will you be comfortable being around others either in your family or in the community? I know we can be seeing COVID patients for the next few months if not years and isolating for that whole span would obviously not be feasible.

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

I'm already comfortable seeing family or others in the community. Remember that children's story The Emperor Has No Clothes? Most of us are going to end up getting Corona sooner or later, yet few (if any) are willing to publicly say it. Even if social distancing "slows down" the spread of Coronavirus to about 2,000 fatalities a day, that still leaves several hundred thousand who are dead by the end of the year. A grim statistic, to be sure, but we could be spared much economic misery and social upheaval if we ripped this bandage off quickly and went full-blown Sweden herd immunity already. That's what I think.

The response to that can be read in numerous places here at AllNurses. It's pretty obvious that the weight of politics is challenging medical common sense. But how are we to keep everything shut down when people need jobs? My sister-in-law, who has a Master's degree, has not received anything from unemployment, no stimulus check yet, and has run out of money. I sent her some money but I can't support her through the entire Summer. I'm not so sure that shutting down America for more months to come is a good idea.

Uroboros, APRN

Specializes in Advanced Practice Critical Care and Family Nursing. Has 17 years experience.

First, it's quite admirable or even noble you even have the presence of mind to consider ongoing social isolation beyond our present day to day circumstances, but maintain a healthy self awareness of the lasting health effects of that even. My spouse and I currently work in high volume COVID testing centers as well. In fact my site was the first one in a very large urban county and part of a chain of the initial drive through options state wide. We continue to relentlessly test daily, especially now that rapid antibody testing available, with walk in and drive through options lining the street it seems. My spouse works in a free standing ED part of the same system, where like you, there is confirmed critical COVID daily. Needless to say, we have installed an airlock adjacent to our Tesla powerwall in the garage, or so it seems. We have not physically visited our extended family in months, nor plan to, until the data is more clear. But we are wearing out some ZOOM meetings, with the occasional amusing hacks. We were off nursing websites like this for years as well, but recently rejoined to cyber-social in some down time. Point is you find a way to stay connected.

Really the decision is yours to make. Just like we are taking it week to week with extreme caution. Do what's best for your family, because that's all that matters. You'll get a profundity of recommendations and additional personal experiences to follow. But in the end, decision is yours and yours alone. But I sincerely empathize with your position, and commend your efforts to be as informed as possible. Trust facts, trust data, trust patterns, least of all trust people.

AutumnLeaves, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in acute care, ICU, surgery, vasc.surgery,trauma. Has 37 years experience.

I have now been voluntarily isolated from my friends since early March.My family live in other states and I haven't seen them in months. I am 63,work FT and am exposed to COVID 19 patients. I decided in March that I wasn't comfortable exposing my friends,most of whom are older than I and some have chronic conditions. So back to now. I have been musing on when it will be safe to see anyone, even at 6 feet and with masks. I have decided that it's too soon for me. Our state is opening up and I fully expect an influx of cases.I can't advise others as what to do, this is just my humble opinion.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

It's a given that the infection rate in the community is going to go up. I don't have known COVID contact at this time, but my clients are high risk. (I work private duty home care.) We are trying to protect these high risk people. I don't know how long we will be able to do so, but it's worth trying.

I'm sitting back and watching. Because I'm working full time, I do get out of the house, but that's about the only reason I go out.

I'm content to watch and wait.

I don't know how to remove Amazon's little advertisement with "watch"

I think this is probably foolish and too early. I intend to hunker down even more than I am already. Of the five major underlying conditions I've seen listed, I fall under four of them. I have no reason to expose myself any more than I have to at this point. If it buys me one more day, even with less than great health, it buys me one more day. That's how I see it.

I only see my family/friends from (well over) 6 feet distance, and I only go out for necessities like groceries, while wearing a mask and, obviously, practicing social distancing and hand hygiene. I will not feel comfortable until I have either had COVID and recovered or there's a vaccine. I would be heartbroken if I got one of my family members or friends sick. It is a hard pill to swallow, but the virus is highly contagious and the mortality rate is 3-4% so far. The choice is clear for me.

I have not stopped seeing patients throughout this whole situation, but no COVID-positive patients so far. Last week I made my first "social" visit with a friend for the first time in two months. We both wore masks and sat probably 10 feet away from each other.

I feel comfortable going out and seeing maybe one, two people together with good distancing but I am unsure of when I will feel comfortable going out in larger numbers. I work with a very vulnerable population and am aware that I can be a potential vector. Now that states and communities are relaxing the sheltering-in-place rules, I am curious to see how much of an uptick in illnesses we see, and with testing that is becoming more available.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

On 5/9/2020 at 8:03 AM, A Hit With The Ladies said:

I'm already comfortable seeing family or others in the community. Remember that children's story The Emperor Has No Clothes? Most of us are going to end up getting Corona sooner or later, yet few (if any) are willing to publicly say it. Even if social distancing "slows down" the spread of Coronavirus to about 2,000 fatalities a day, that still leaves several hundred thousand who are dead by the end of the year. A grim statistic, to be sure, but we could be spared much economic misery and social upheaval if we ripped this bandage off quickly and went full-blown Sweden herd immunity already. That's what I think.

Except, of course that we have no idea yet if permanent immunity is possible with this virus.

I have seen my mother twice in the last three months, each time from six feet away in the out of doors. I have seen my adult children once, same, situation, on Mother's Day. We have done one outdoor happy hour with our two closest friends, six feet apart.

I think this is very much, at this point, up to your personal level of comfort.

Marisette, BSN, RN

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

On 5/9/2020 at 1:31 PM, caliotter3 said:

I think this is probably foolish and too early. I intend to hunker down even more than I am already. Of the five major underlying conditions I've seen listed, I fall under four of them. I have no reason to expose myself any more than I have to at this point. If it buys me one more day, even with less than great health, it buys me one more day. That's how I see it.

It sounds wise to hunker down for awhile while waiting for more effective treatments if your over 60 and with comorbid conditions. Unfortunately, it may not be economically possible for all of us. Health insurance is very expensive and tied to our jobs. Some of us don't have the option of saying "we're going to get in anyway". I was furloghed with two and a half months of insurance. If I had the option, I would hunker down for awhile longer.

It's like a soda bottle that got shaken up. You open it a little and let some of the gas out, but not too much or you get sprayed. So you open, you tighten, you open you tighten. Some soda leaks out no matter how careful you are.

We will open things up, cases will go up, hospitalizations and deaths will go up, and then some things will close back down. I think we have months of this dance ahead.

Our COVID cases are going down, and hopefully my hospital will open up to some of the surgeries again, and we'll be able to find a new normal. I fully expect to see COVID cases go up after restrictions loosen up next week, but hopefully not as many as we originally saw. Even at the peak, my hospital wasn't overwhelmed. We flattened the curve, and that's about the best we can do.

From what I can see, people are taking social distancing seriously. People are wiping down grocery carts, wearing masks, staying a reasonable distance from others. From what I've seen on the news, there are places where people are being purposefully risky as a political statement, but I haven't seen any of that sort of foolishness here.

For my family, we will see a few select friends and family in small numbers, and with much lower frequency than in the past. Fortunately, the weather is nicer, so we can socialize outside. Next week DD's daycare opens back up with reduced numbers and increased precautions. I will be sending her and going back to work. She won't be there full time, but she'll go. ODS's Boy Scout trip and camp were cancelled today, so he currently has no Summer plans. YDS is signed up for 2 weeks of day camp, and we'll decide on sending him or not based on what adaptations are made. We are still in a holding pattern regarding vacations. It's so hard to plan anything because I just don't know the state of travel or travel restrictions two months from now.

eggyweggy, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

As someone working on a covid+ unit, I'm not in a huge hurry to resume my social life as my state begins opening up again. I worry that I could be one of those asymptomatic carriers despite using PPE each time I enter a patient room, even though nobody else in my family has had any symptoms. I would feel much more comfortable resuming some semblance of a normal life if a) we had the capacity to test everyone working with covid+ patients on a regular and frequent basis and b) if we had a more consistent and reliable treatment plan for patients with COVID-19. Until that happens, I would feel more comfortable keeping my circle extremely small.

My husband, on the other hand, is an enormous extrovert who hasn't been able to work (in-home sales) for the past two months and he is chomping at the bit to get together with our close friends. I'm content to maintain connections with my friends via text, zoom, phone or email. He craves the in-person contact and really struggles with these alternate forms of socialization. I want to wait a little bit longer before we start having friends over or sharing food and drinks in close quarters as prolonged, close contact appears to be one of the main modes of transmission.

Edited by eggyweggy

Tait, MSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice. Has 14 years experience.

I have had nightmares every night this week about being out in public with no mask, hugging people that then tell me they have been sick and that family members have died. I am not ready.

herring_RN, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical. Has 49 years experience.

I hope non of these people get sick or die. I also hope no one else thinks a party with more than 100 attendees is OK now.

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Larger gatherings are still prohibited under strict coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

But that didn’t stop a raging house party Saturday night in the Hollywood Hills that ended when, police say, a man accidentally shot himself in the groin. Officers received a complaint of a loud party at 1410 Miller Drive at about 11 p.m., said Los Angeles Police Lt. Mark Chong.

When they responded, they found that more than 100 people were gathered at a short-term-rental property that appeared to have been reserved for the occasion, he said...

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-17/raging-hollywood-hills-house-party-amid-coronavirus-ends-when-man-shoots-himself-in-groin-police-say

Enarra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ambulatory Primary Care. Has 9 years experience.

What to do Well it’s a personal decision on how much risk you put others in. I too work with covid19 pts and me I am not going closer than 6 ft with my elderly folks. I haven’t sat down for dinner with them since feb. Yes states are reopening and until there’s a vaccine I am not willing to put my parents lives at risk. So we make do with FaceTime and phone calls. I wished I too had the chance to just stay inside but I don’t so I shower and wash scrubs everyday and even change at work plastic bagging shoes and scrubs to take home. Best of luck