Nurses, it’s okay to quit if you don’t have proper protection during this pandemic!

Covid-19 is a morally confronting moment for healthcare workers. It’s INGRAINED in them to put their patients first and they WANT to uphold the integrity of their profession. They didn’t sign up for an easy job and they aren’t inclined to give up easily when things get really rough but the moment I found out that my hospital wasn’t providing PPE to the nurses and doctors, I froze up inside and the idea of volunteering my assistance (since I’m an ex-nurse) died. I have nightmares about neighbors asking me if I’m able to help their loved ones at home who are unable to access healthcare facilities since there are only 3 ventilators at our local hospital. I’m concerned about my friends on the frontline and I’m questioning my own moral code for being unable to take the risks that they are currently taking.

I have several nurse friends that are truly struggling with whether they should stay at work or not (due to the lack of PPE). I would like to take a moment to address those who choose to walk away:

You might be wondering if you’re doing the right thing and perhaps people are judging you right now, accusing you of abandoning your post at a time when your community needs you the most.

I want you to understand that WE GET IT and it’s okay to quit due to a lack of protection.

We cannot know the individual circumstances of every nurse and doctor and what they might have on the line. Some of them are unable to separate from family and have immune-compromised people at home or maybe they are immune compromised themselves. Whatever the case, every person needs to make a decision for themselves and we should refrain from making judgement.

If a firefighter had to save lives, they wouldn’t send them in without protective gear and a nurse should not be expected to walk into a fire unprotected either.

Watch: Nurses are protesting the lack of supplies to fight Covid-19:

THANK YOU to all the healthcare workers and other essential workers who probably don’t get enough recognition. We are grateful for every one of you, no matter what choice you make to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.

Thank you to those who are making personal sacrifices to stay at home and reduce the curve.

Here’s some tips on other things you can do to help:

If you’re in South Africa:

Stress, pain and drug abuse in nurses.

My sister shared a video of a nurse on duty, high on drugs resulting in this post. In the video, the patient is in her bed, someone secretly records the nurse who is apparently high. The nurse nods off frequently.

The only reason I am sharing this video is to talk about what’s on the other side of the coin and to offer an outlet to nurses struggling with addiction issues.

Were they wrong to record this nurse who was high on duty?

No. Being high on duty is an unacceptable breach of trust and a real danger to the lives of other people.

Should they have shared this video with hospital management?

Yes. Management has to ensure the safety and well-being of patients first and foremost.

Should they have shared the video online for the whole world to see?

No! It is bad enough that this video likely resulted in her losing her job and licence. Is it really necessary to publicly disgrace her on top of it? To what end?

I’ve met nurses who had bottles upon bottles of pills. One nurse in particular, used to pour them out on the counter to show me just how many pills she takes in a day. I used to think she was crazy. She’s a nurse. She should know better. Right? Well, she SHOULD know better and she DOES know better but addiction isn’t that easy.

Those of you who are sitting there behind your keyboard, writing mean comments about this nurse – you may be surprised to know that you are not helping anyone. You’re not helping the patient (the hospital management already punished the nurse enough). You’re definitely not helping the nurse. I don’t blame you though since addiction isn’t easy to understand.

What does it take to understand an addict?

I had to lose someone I love dearly to learn that an addict isn’t taking drugs to hurt YOU. They can make you angry and they will push your buttons but they aren’t necessarily trying to hurt you (unless they are). They are usually just trying to ease their own inner pain. It helps them cope with everyday life. Does that mean you should feed their addiction or allow them to hurt you? Absolutely not though in many circumstances, a little understanding and empathy can go a long way.

In a hospital environment, work stress is high, nurses suffer all sorts of trauma, straight from high school into nursing school, they are dealt the harsh reality of life and death and things get really rough. Aside from work stress, you don’t know the long and winded history behind their addiction. Maybe they suffered some form of abuse in their childhood, or they lost someone they loved. In many cases an addicts brain is physically structured to be vulnerable to addictions.

Help one addict, save many lives.

Try to see the human in this nurse and offer her some support, love, and empathy. You will save an entire family from a world of pain if you can help one addict. There plenty resources out there. Books, videos, support groups, professional counselors and psychologists that can help you, help an addict.

If it is not in your hearts desire to help an addict, then I have one request. Step away from the addict and leave them alone. Your comments are only going to make it worse.