ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Leah Chambers took time out of her busy day to talk to Adam Chodak about what life is like as a nurse in the ICU at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Adam Chodak: Why did you become a nurse?
Leah Chambers: Well, I like helping people and making a difference in people’s lives and nursing seemed like the best option.
AC: The ICU, 20 years, how you do make it through emotionally in that department?
LC: Well, it’s something that you can kind of just get used to over time and you kind of develop your own strategy about how to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally.
AC: How has it been for you over the last 6 weeks for you in this crisis?
LC: The past 6 weeks here have been very hectic. A lot of change. It’s constantly changing as the patient census ebbs and flows, constantly, so day to day we’re adapting, everyone has been pulling together, though, everyone has been very open and receptive to the new challenges that we’re facing every day so it’s been getting there, we’re working on it.
AC: Has it been overwhelming at any point with the number of people coming in?
LC: It has at times, but we’ve had a lot of different disciplines coming in and everyone has been pulling together and helping where they can and very receptive and open to learning, but we’re kind of at a lull at the moment so everyone is into their roles really well at this point and time.
AC: Is there any fear on the floor over COVID-19 because there’s so much unknown about it?
LC: I guess there is some fear. We all have PPE, everyone knows how to use it appropriately, we review it regularly, but there is standard fear of course.
AC: What is your message for the community right now?
LC: Everyone needs to follow the social distancing that’s in place, everyone wear your mask to protect each other and everyone else and just keep doing that until restrictions let up.
AC: Do you feel like you’re doing anything special or is this just a job to you? Because to be honest I look at what you do and I think it’s pretty special.
LC: It is just a job, but it’s a job that I love and I don’t feel like I’m doing anything I wouldn’t do any normal day.
AC: What is the atmosphere among your colleagues right now?
LC: Everyone is in really good spirits here, everyone is pulling together very supportive, everyone is helping each other, it’s actually a really great environment to be working in right now.
AC: With COVID-19 is this is a different experience for you than what you’ve seen in the past 20 years?
LC: It definitely is presenting a little differently, but the nice thing is a lot of the patients are similar, they’re all similar, so it’s easy in that regard.
AC: And what do you mean by similar?
LC: Like the way they come in with their presentation, a lot of their comorbidities are similar.