Adjusting to a New Department in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
COVID-19 has had an incredible ripple effect across the healthcare industry. While ICU’s and emergency rooms rocketed to a higher demand, other departments—like same day surgery—saw their numbers decline as many patients chose to delay elective surgeries.
To counter this shift in demand, many hospitals and clinics shifted their workers from underused departments to those in desperate need of more help. Nurses like Maegan Bonner (a same day surgery nurse) suddenly found themselves surrounded by the daily challenges of working in an emergency room during a global pandemic.
But Maegan, like so many others in her position, leapt right into the work with both feet and excelled. For that reason, we selected Maegan as one of our honored Heroes in Healthcare.
Same Day Surgery Nurse in Salt Lake City, UT
2019 Graduate – Provo College
What are the typical responsibilities for someone in your position?
As a same day surgery nurse, my job revolves around triaging patients, starting IVs, and making patient assessments.
The responsibility of a same-day surgery nurse is to care for patients before and after surgery or their out-patient procedure. Whereas nurses in other wards of the hospital might care for the same patient across multiple days, my patients are typically in and out within 24 hours.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed that routine?
My day now is very different than it was a few months ago, where my shift consisted of working through a roster of pre-scheduled operations. Because of COVID-19, I was moved from my same-day surgery ward to the emergency department of my hospital.
Now, I manage multiple patients at a time—starting IVs, giving fluids and medications, admitting patients to the floor, giving report to other nurses, and getting reports from EMS. When I’m not directly caring for an assigned patient, I’m supporting coworkers with theirs or assisting in codes.
I love fast paced environments, though, and the constant change in patients, so I’ve acclimated quickly. And my medical training had already prepared me for all the donning and doffing of PPE!
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
I’d say that it’s learning the new COVID-19 procedures each day, all while trying to protect myself, my co-workers, and my family.
But that’s also what I appreciate the most about my job—learning something new each day.
Where do you find the inspiration to endure this difficult period?
I’m just grateful to be working in the medical field. I love this opportunity to help others feel calm and at ease while in the ER… especially with our visitor restrictions in place. People are more anxious than ever before when they come into the emergency room—there are so many fears and they don’t know what to expect. I’m glad to be here to help guide them through the process and quiet some of those worries.
The stress must be overwhelming at times. How do you find balance? What do you do to maintain your composure during stressful moments at work?
What helps me the most is being able to talk to my co-workers about my shift and how it went before leaving work. We are all living this stressful situation together, we’re all experiencing the same things and under the same stress, so being able to communicate these feelings to someone who understands helps us all cope and support each other.
Any words of advice or inspiration you’d like to share with other healthcare workers who may be coping with similar challenges?
Even when it’s hard, smiling makes you feel confident.
You’re smart. You can do this. Keep going!
There are thousands of men and women who are studying to become medical professionals while watching all of this unfold. What would you say to them?
Be confident in yourself.
And start building that confidence while you’re still in school. It gets harder outside of the classroom, but you can do this.
What about our non-medical readers? Any words of advice for them?
Wash your hands =)
Thank you Maegan!
Thank you to Maegan for her hard work, both before and during this pandemic. Her willingness to completely readjust her work and comfort zone in order to help patients during an emergency is a perfect example of the sacrifice and drive we see in so many nurses.
We’re proud of you, Maegan! Keep up the amazing work!