It’s been a full year since Covid first became a prevalent, everyday worry and our health care workers are still working hard to take care of the sick. Jenifer Soustek is one of those health care workers who has been on the frontlines fighting Covid since day one. Soustek went to college at the University of Maryland College Park and pursued nursing school at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. She’s been a nurse for 28 years and now works in the Intensive Care Unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Compared to pre-Covid, Soustek says that everything about working in a hospital is now different with how they coordinate patient care and the number of supplies. The challenges that health care providers face are greater than ever with the death toll of patients being higher than ever. Families of patients can’t visit or see loved ones that are in the ICU unless they are actively dying. This has been very hard on the families not being able to see their loved ones. It’s also hard on the nurses because they sometimes have to explain to the families that they can’t see their loved ones until their condition worsens.
The amount of patients has decreased since the winter spike in cases, which could be because of the vaccine or people realizing the severity of the virus. Things in the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) department have also gotten much better since there is now more PPE available. We’re also getting through the panic from the beginning where hospitals didn’t have enough supplies; there’s now a greater level of protection for the health care providers. The hospitals have become more knowledgeable on how to combat this pandemic, but “we should all still be focusing on the basics of washing our hands and wearing masks,” said Soustek. We should continue to wear our masks and take proper precautions until the CDC says otherwise. It is because of hardworking hospital staff, like Soustek, that the nation is slowly healing from the chaotic times of last year.