Dothan nurses bear emotional toll while serving as COVID-19 patients’ family


DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Every 12 hours, shift changes occur, and new shift nurses can be seen walking in and out of these doors preparing to face the emotional toll of the pandemic. 

“Day to day just kind of fluctuates; it seems like we are on a rollercoaster sometimes,” nurse Kaci Brannan said. 

Brannan is a critical care unit RN for Southeast Health. She said that rollercoaster can be an emotional ride because of the connection and interactions she now has with COVID patients. 

“It’s tasking because we have some patients that we cheer on, and they, you know, get better, but unfortunately, we see the other side, and that is having to be these people’s family when their family is not able to come in,” she said. “So it is very hard for us to take care of patients and also be on the phone quite a bit to update the family members.” 

Not only are nurses taking care of their patients during this time but they also look out for each other. Brannan said sometimes that means sitting in silence together. Part of their job requires them to separate themselves emotionally. but that doesn’t stop them from showing their human side.  

“Oh, we cry right there with them,” Brannan said. “Sometimes we do have to, we try to turn it off, but at the same time, you think about what if this was me? What if this was my family? So sometimes we spend a lot of time in the room. We cry along with them. We laugh. We celebrate the small victories. We are basically, we try our best to be their family when their family is not able to be here.”  

All month-long, Southeast Health is running a program called Cards for Caregivers. You can drop off a thank you card or inspirational note for your local caregivers and help boost morale this holiday season.

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