Behind the scenes of the COVID-19 crisis are a legion of frontline workers who go to incredible lengths to keep their patients as safe, healthy and comfortable as possible. Doing so often requires problem solving, teamwork, and considerable interpersonal skills. Medline spoke with two nurses who bring to life the essence of the “Works of Heart” program about the dedication of caregivers and the challenges they face today.
Kyra Dolan and Courtney Hastings prioritized bonding with patients and their families well before the COVID-19 outbreak. Both understand the need for patients to feel cared for and their families to also feel adequately supported. When the threat of COVID-19 rose at their facilities, their determination never wavered. That’s why Medline is highlighting Dolan and Hastings as part of its recognition program.
New Jersey-based Kyra Dolan, a nurse of seven years, works at a nursing home where she cares for dementia patients. Her drive to care for her patients physically, mentally and emotionally can take its toll.
“Being a nurse is a tough job to choose emotionally, as it is extremely difficult to separate your work from everyday life. Sometimes you spend so much time taking care of others that you forget to take care of yourself. Nursing is my passion though and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” Dolan said.
Courtney Hastings, a nurse of 18 years at VCU Health, first broke into her field through working as a counselor for Alzheimer’s patients. Her career grew a steadfast dedication to the needs of others.
“I appreciate recognition but above all well, what I find essential is the resources to properly care for my patients, and to be set up to succeed in having the best patient outcome possible,” said Hastings.
In the last year, nurses across the country have had to change protocols and develop new strategies for the increased demands caused by the ongoing health epidemic. Dolan and her coworkers, like many others, were forced to adapt on the fly.
“At first, it was overwhelming because we didn’t know what to expect or what to do, but we had to adapt fast and create protocols that made sense for our facility,” Dolan said. “It is extremely difficult to tell anyone they must remain in their room, but there is an added challenge when those people have dementia and have a hard time understanding why.”
Hastings tries to see the bright side to the new conditions she and her coworkers are facing.
“COVID-19 has made our facility much more collaborative. We utilize everyone’s expertise in different fields to problem solve and so we can create the best way to provide the best care. We now call upon each other, which has opened up paths of communication.”
Still, caregiver burnout remains a constant concern.
“Nurse burnout is not only prevalent, but rampant,” Hastings said. “No day is the same and unfortunately, we lose patients. Families are rightfully so frustrated and this is often emotionally draining. Some nurses leave before they make it to two years. Any amount of recognition, big or small, can help keep nurses at the bedside focused on the care they provide patients. Nursing is a calling.”
Medline would like to thank both Kyra Dolan and Courtney Hastings for their exceptional work and the high standard of care they provide. Their compassion and dedication are truly inspirational and are what motivated those closest to them to nominate the pair for the Medline “Works of Heart” program.
Learn more about the “Works of Heart” program and how to nominate an exceptional healthcare worker.