CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Jessica Trevino has been a healthcare worker for 10 years and is working as a registered nurse and emergency team lead at CHRISTUS Spohn - Shoreline.
Working during the pandemic with a shorter staff has presented some challenges for her. As a team leader, she works one-on-one with nurses who are facing burnout while on the hospital floor; nurses who work long shifts.
“I pull them aside and I ask them how are they doing today? Is there anything that I can do to help them? Do they need a five minute break just to step away from anything? Just to reset,” Trevino said.
Many hail healthcare workers as heroes during the pandemic for working on the frontlines.
When asked whether she feels like a hero, Trevino said, “No. I feel like a nurse. I feel like I'm doing my job and I’m doing what I love, so no I don’t feel like a hero.”
The Texas Tribune reports that there are 23,000 more un-filled registered nurse positions in Texas than there are nurses looking to fill them.
Matt Curtiss is a registered respiratory therapist supervisor and works 12-14 hour shifts about four days a week. The most amount of hours in a day he’s worked is 15. He makes assignments and helps in the emergency room on a typical day, saying what’s challenging about his job is seeing patients pass away, especially at the start of the pandemic when family members weren’t allowed in the hospital.
“They do become like family, you know rooms numbers, you know faces, you know names. They are part of your family basically, and you do everything you can for them just like they were your family member,” Curtiss said.
In order to combat emotional fatigue, CHRISTUS Spohn has a team of chaplains and priests who pray and talk with nurses who are battling burnout.
Hannah Dewing has been a part of that team since September, and said she hears from hospital staff that working with less staff members and feeling under-appreciated can be a challenge.
“I feel like people just really want someone to listen to them. You don’t even have to give advice, but just be there, and be a support, and empathize with what they’re going through,” Dewing said.
Trevino said prayer is what gets her through challenging days. She said she prays for herself to stay mentally tough.
“Stay safe, thank a healthcare worker. We’re working really hard,” she said.