10+ Nurses Share Their Experiences/Stories About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nurses and other health care professionals are the heroes right now. Let’s listen to what they have to say about COVID-19.

What does it feel like to be a nurse during the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak? What are people seeing on the ground of how COVID-19 is impacting hospitals and the people that work there?  Here’s are run-through of nurse and other medical professionals reaction to it.

A nurse from Washington, D.C. reminds us the stark and incapableness of the job and COVID-19 to NPR.

We don’t have the luxury of telecommuting.

They’re creating memes to keep a sense of humor through the rough times.

One nurse reminds other health care workers that doing nothing might be the only way to save more lives.

Doing nothing may be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life.

Many of you say, I could never do that. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from rushing in and saving my patient.

Liberian nurses and doctors said the same thing, and many did run in to help, saying PPE be damned. My patients need me.

Then they became infected, they infected others. And they died. They didn’t help anyone after that.

Do not let the deaths of hundreds of healthcare workers be forgotten.

One nurse is reporting that no one knows what the protocol should be for this novel virus.

I have had a kid being tested for Covid for the past three shifts. Every one has had different processes in place. I swear they are making shit up in the back room on an hourly basis.

This nurse is very concerned because even handling the flu season was a disaster this year.

I told a friend yesterday that I’m going to get paid A LOT of overtime to watch A LOT of people die.

We had a crazy influx in my area around flue season where during one week, there was not a single pediatric bed in my entire state. We had standing room only in every ER in my site for several days. They were deputizing clinic nurses to come in and lend their skill to get us through several shifts. This occurred after months of slipping staffing and high patient ratios.

I consider it a dry run for covid. And we failed. Horribly.

That lasted about a week. This has the potential to go on for several. For even months.




Reports of a lack of the proper masks are rampant. Note: Don’t buy these up or stockpile them, save them for our health care workers.

Surgical masks are not sufficient for covid19 because you can’t get a good seal. You need a N95 mask and to be fit tested.Problem is, they’re back ordered at a lot of hospitals. The general public has been buying them up or stealing them from their local hospitals.

Patients are making it hard for nurses and doctors to do their job. 

I’m deeply disturbed and disgusted about the things I’m about to share here, but it needs to be heard.

I work in one of the hospitals based in Southern California. No, I will not dox myself or give anything more identifying. One of the biggest problems and risks to Healthcare Workers, the patients, and visitors, are the General Public (i.e. visitors and other patients).

The most infuriating story I have this week is we had a rule-out CoVid19 patient who decided to come out into the hall from their room because it was “taking too long” for the staff to answer their call light request. This patient’s impatience exposed everyone in the area, staff, visitors and ambulating patients. (and while I won’t spoil what their request was, because this is reddit and there is no shortage of armchair theorists who look to make excuses in the absence of all facts, I’ll just tell you it was incredibly trivial)

Masks, gloves, sanitizer, bleach wipes, even TP are being stolen at alarming rates by family/visitors.

CoVid patient’s who DO behave have family members who are in very close proximity (spouses) who storm up and down the halls to make trivial requests (can you fill MY water bottle for me? -not the patient’s bottle, mind you, and not using the sink in the room we’re staying in, thankyouverymuch!), further exposing staff. Not to mention these same family members are roaming freely among the cafeteria (and those wandering to help themselves to all our missing supplies!), gift shop, etc.

All of our preparations, all of our PPE, isolation, COPIOUS amounts of patient and family teaching, are all being CONSTANTLY undone by people who simply don’t get it or don’t care.

I think at this point the only way to keep us as well as our at-risk patients safe is to ban ALL visitors. Despite the few gems who abide by the rules, we continue to have those who are noncompliant and making the situation worse for us all.

While I’m not thrilled with the amount of co-workers I’ve seen lately coming in with coughs and sniffles (really, you should know better!! Come on!), we can control access to visitors better than we can police our own coworkers lapses of judgment.

I know a lot of hospitals are reporting limiting visitors to 1-2 people, but it’s already proving to not be limiting enough. It should be zero visitors. Because just one exposes us all due to noncompliance.

Another nurse provides encouragement to newbie nurses just starting on the job as this virus hits.

Remember we are in new territory here, we’re all struggling together. We’re seeing people when they are frustrated and scared but generally the public are all behind us. Welcome to the team. Joining the dark side will be the best and worst decision you ever made.

Nurses are encouraging other nurses to show compassion for each other.

I’m a tech. Throw away acct for confidentiality reasons.

But I walked into work last night with a few suspected COVID pts. The policy we adapted was to have these pts on a 2:1 ratio, and that nurse be the sole care provider for those patients to minimize the amount of people coming in those rooms. Now, my problem was when I started talking to the night shift nurse about it, and she said the day shift nurse was bullied and ostracized for being the “COVID” nurse. The other day shift nurses would hold their breath around her, talked down to her because she didn’t bring a change of clothes (she wound up ordering temp scrubs of shame to appease them), and told her she needed to eat lunch alone. It is appalling that these nurses – who were the first to post cringy “nurses are on the front line” memes- are treating the ONE nurse who’s actually directly caring for these patients like a pariah. I wasn’t alive for it, but I feel like this is how it must’ve gone for nurses during the AIDS epidemic. It’s disgusting the level of ignorance these nurses are showing. If you weren’t ready for this kind of work, don’t be a nurse. Compassion isn’t limited to these patients; have it for your coworkers, too. Rant: Over.

Lack of communication is an issue. 

Y’all I’m feeling like my hospital is not on the ball. We have two cases here and there hasn’t been much communicate hospital wise. I’m ready/mentally preparing to get retrained to work bedside (I’m inpatient/outpatient vad coordinator) but they haven’t sent any communication about it. The sense of not knowing what the plan is is really giving me anxiety. I’d like to think they’re on top of this and just not sharing yet, but honestly idk. I would feel so much better if I felt like they were being proactive instead of reactive.

A husband/wife duo worry about the proper response… 

I’m posting here because I have nowhere else to go for trustworthy opinions…my wife and I live in NYC and she’s a nurse who works at a major hospital in the city. Her hospital currently has COVID-19 positive cases and has dedicated floors to specifically treating infected patients. We are both in our early 30’s and healthy. The thing I need advice on is my wife’s behavior/attitude towards the COVID-19 outbreak. I’m not a healthcare professional but I work in higher academic science so I understand more than the layman in terms of infectious diseases/virology/biology etc. My wife is acting like COVID-19 is not a big deal at all. It’s almost like she’s going out of her way to get infected. She scoffs when I give her hand sanitizer for her commute (she commutes 30 minutes each way to the hospital on the subway). I have to beg her to shower when she gets home from the hospital (she gets home late at night and is understandably super tired).

She’s incredibly stressed right now because (according to her) the hospital is ramming COVID-19 awareness down their throat. She wants to rent a hotel room downtown this weekend to “get away and relax” because the rates are super low. She’s even suggested we go to a day spa on Saturday to unwind (the type of place where you sit in hot tubs with strangers and lounge in saunas etc). It’s her day off today and she’s decided she’d like to take a look at new apartments because traffic is low in the city so she’s out meeting with real estate agents doing apartment showings as I write this (I’m still at work).

Am I in the wrong to be alarmed at what I think is her being way to too lackadaisical about COVID-19 or is she not taking this stuff seriously? She purposefully doesn’t watch the news because she doesn’t want to be stressed out, but from what I’m reading, NYC is on the brink of a public health disaster and I think we should be preparing for life to not be normal around here for a while. Please let me know your professional nursing thoughts. Thank you so much for all you do, you’re literally our heroes.

Another nurse writes through The Intercept:

At first, I was worried that we might have it half as bad as Italy.  I can tell you from what I have now witnessed, we are Italy.

There is confusion about how to properly clean yourself after a shift.

My sister is a nurse. She is about to come home from night shift and she says there was a COVID-19 patient in the hospital. How does she “decontaminate” safely before going inside our house? We have a backyard if she needs to disrobe. Do we prepare a basin of water for her to put her clothes in? Is bleach the only way we can kill the virus in her scrubs, or is detergent enough? What can we prepare for her before she gets home?

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.