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CRMC nurses share their experiences throughout the pandemic

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. It’s been a part of our every day lives for more than a year. Though many have seen its impacts on the outside, for healthcare workers inside of Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, it’s been a completely different experience.

“The reality hit us when they came into the ICU and they built a wall to separate covid patients from our non covid patients,” said CRMC Charge Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, Roz Weiler.

Weiler has worked at CRMC for the last 20 years, and as the pandemic came into the Laramie County community last spring, everyday operations looked much different.

“There were very specific steps you had to follow to dress to go in, we still dress that same way now. Initially we weren’t allowed to go in the room, we were supposed to just go in every four hours. Of course in ICU, we went in more often because there were things happening. But you had to limit your time, they told us initially you should limit your time to less than 15 minutes and that’s hard to do. Patients would come and eventually make their way to have to be on a ventilator, and if we had time, we always made sure they called their family and talked to them because we didn’t know if that would be the last time they ever talked to anyone.”

Briana “Breezi” Iverson has been a Registered Nurse at CRMC for three and a half years. She began working on the seventh floor COVID Unit in the fall when cases and hospitalizations were at their peak.

“We were keeping patients that we normally would’ve sent to the ICU days before. But ICU was full so we were only sending patients that were absolutely necessary, that were about to be intubated. So the hardest part was calling those family members saying, I have to send your family member to the ICU to be intubated, and once patients were intubated, they didn’t know if they were going to come off, so that was the hardest part.”

For Iverson and Weiler, it was also hard to see, what they believed, was the community not taking COVID-19 seriously.

“I think it was hard even to see people not taking it seriously. It’s not fake, it’s real, I’ve seen the end of it and people not coming off the ventilators,” said Iverson.

“Most of us have gotten vaccinated, most of us still wear our masks when we go out into the community. We do that because of what we’ve seen at the bedside, because of what we know happens,” said Weiler

Despite how hard the year has been, both nurses are excited to see how far the community has come, and for it to continue making progress in the fight against the pandemic.

“I think the best part is just that humanity is still there, that people still care about each other,” said Weiler.

Each healthcare worker has had their own unique experience throughout the pandemic. This story is the first of a three part series about those experiences, the second story will air next week.

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