Working as a Healthcare Worker During a Pandemic

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Healthcare workers around the world have their hands full with the coronavirus pandemic. They definitely have very important jobs, and they deserve so much appreciation for all of their hard work. My brother Bret Schreckenghaust works at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, and he gave me an insight into his daily life as a healthcare worker during this difficult time. 

Bret usually works at a pediatric clinic and treats sick and injured kids. However, children started to come in less and less due to the fears of the coronavirus, so Bret wasn’t busy at all. He was offered to transfer to the hospital to work, and now every day is busy for the workers. Bret said, “There’s a limited number of devices available and having to coordinate their transfer, cleaning, and charging multiple critical care units is definitely a lot.” Before the coronavirus outbreak, Bret dealt more with direct patient care, but now he deals more from an administrative and organizational standpoint since he deals with the supplies and devices needed. He primarily helps with facilitating conversations between families and the patients via iPads and iPhones that are provided by the hospital. He helps families see those in the hospital or even say goodbye in end-of-life situations. 

Bret explained that one of the most difficult situations he deals with at the hospital is facilitating some of the last conversations between families and their loved ones. Bret explained, “While I know there is a need for it and appreciate that the hospital is allowing patients to do this, I feel very helpless to not provide as much direct care as I used to when I was at the clinic.” Bret said he became aware of a patient’s age, health, and the family he was leaving behind in numerous situations. “I’d say that the hardest part is knowing how much distance this virus puts between patients and their loved ones.”

This pandemic has also affected many people’s lives at home and free time outside of working. Bret included that he misses being able to go out to eat and to the movies in his free time, but he does enjoy spending time at home. “My life at home is better now that I have more time to spend with my fiancé and our three dogs, who are all ecstatic to have the both of us home as often as we are now.” Bret has used this time to take his dogs on a lot more walks and play with them when he isn’t busy at the hospital. 

Bret also explained to me that he may be transferring to an ambulance in the next coming weeks to provide direct care to more patients. He used to volunteer as an EMT, so he has experience in working with emergent patients. Bret also included that working in an ambulance will allow him to work with more patients and work towards his strengths. He explained, “I’ve never been big into technology and having to play a role that involves so much tech support hasn’t been easy.” 

Healthcare workers have very important jobs, and I’m so grateful that we have these amazing workers to help through these difficult times. Bret has definitely been given an insight into not only the jobs of the nurses and doctors but also the patients and their loved ones. I hope things begin to look up soon for the safety of the many patients and healthcare workers all over the world.

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