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We Celebrate the Wins: AdventHealth Nurses Talk Working on the COVID Unit During the Pandemic

Photo: Nicholas Bartos

At least thirty percent of nurses will develop PTSD sometime during their career.

AdventHealth Senior VP of Nursing Linnette Johnson says they’re using new strategies to help nurses who work on the COVID unit cope with stress. 

Johnson says that includes offering frequent breaks, opportunities to talk to mental health professionals and time to get fresh air and exercise outdoors. 

“And then one of the things that they love to do on huddle is celebrate the wins. Cause like I said earlier, it’s been heartbreaking and then it’s been heartwarming all wrapped into one. So celebrate who got to go home. Which one of our patients have done well. What milestone did they celebrate while they were with us. And that really is quite healing.”

Johnson said other nurses have started to journal about their experiences and emotions. 

She said healthcare professionals experience a sense of anxiety for their patients’ well-being but also for their families who they could bring the virus home to. 

In the first few months of the pandemic, she said most patients who came to the hospital were in critical condition. She said they used a lot of ICU beds and ventilators. 

Now, she said more patients are on Med-Surg units. 

“Which means they need some oxygen support. It certainly means that they need medications and treatments. But they actually are not having to be ventilated and spend 19 days in an ICU as opposed to when the disease first started.”

Johnson says they’ve learned to intervene early with aggressive treatment to improve patient outcomes. 

She said the hospital system in Central Florida is currently treating some 270 patients for COVID-19.

If you’d like to listen to this story, click on the clips above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »