Traveling nurse from Elkhart shares experience of treating Covid-19 patients

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Melinda Weeks became a nurse to help others, but she can’t picture starting her healthcare career in the middle of a pandemic.

“I can’t even imagine being a new nurse right now and having to take care of COVID patients,” said Weeks, of Elkhart.

A traveling crisis nurse, Weeks has worked in Indianapolis, Tucson, Dallas, and now Phoenix, working mostly with patients stricken with the coronavirus. Acknowledging that many people survive Covid-19, Weeks shared concerns about those who shrug off the severity of the virus.

“A lot of people - even though they survived - are going to have, you know, trach tubes for the rest of their life. They’re gonna be on ventilators for the rest of their life, you know, have lung issues have, you know, PTSD from what they’ve been through in the hospital,” Weeks explained. “I just don’t think that people take COVID as seriously as they should be.”

Weeks says traveling nurses are filling critical shortages hospitals nationwide. Earlier in the pandemic, she would care for three Covid-19 patients in a shift.

“Now we’re taking five to seven,” she said.

To ease the patient-load, Weeks hopes people will heed to safety precautions.

“I know the mask, I know, it’s not fun. I mean, I have to wear one all the time, but they really do help slow the spread,” Weeks remarked. “I think those who aren’t taking [the pandemic] seriously, really need to start taking it seriously, because it’s really a horrible virus.”

In the meantime, Melinda clings to the positives.

“I think the vaccine gives me hope. I think I think the people that are complying with, you know, the masking up and social distancing, they give me hope,” she said.

Melinda received the Pfizer vaccine and reported having a sore arm for a day. She’ll receive the second vaccine dose in two weeks.

“I just want people to know that travel nursing takes a heavy emotional and mental toll on nurses. And without the support of my parents, daughter, family and amazing my friends - there is no way I could do!”

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