'This is how it's going to be for a long time,' Duke ER nurse says of pandemic
Duke Regional Hospital emergency department nurse Ashley Wheeler says treating coronavirus patients has become part of the daily routine for her, and she fears a resurgence as restrictions are eased and then again in the fall as flu season starts.
LOW 70s BACK TO FAYETTEVILLE. >>> LIKE THE REST OF US, ASHLEY WHEELER IS IMAGINING WHAT THINGS WILL BE LIKE AFTER THE OUTBREAK. NOT JUST AT HOME BUT IN THE HOSPITAL. >> WHEELER DISCUSSES THE REALITY OF REOPENING THE ECONOMY AND HOW LOCAL HOSPITALS MIGHT LOOK IN THE COMING MONTHS. IT'S INSIGHT YOU WILL ONLY SEE HERE ON WRAL. >>> SO, IT IS SATURDAY. IT HAS BEEN A GOOD DAY. I WAS JUST ASKING MY COWORKERS WHAT I SHOULD TALK ABOUT TODAY FOR THE VIDEO. I KIND OF FEEL LIKE I SAID MANY THINGS OVER AND OVER AND THAT'S JUST HOW IT FEELS, IT FEELS VERY REDUNDANT. WE ARE STILL SEEING COVID PATIENTS, WE STILL HAVE PEOPLE COME IN THAT ARE VERY SYMPTOMATIC AND SOME PEOPLE THAT COME IN AND WE END UP DOING A RAPID TEST FOR OTHER REASONS LIKE A PROCEDURE AND WE GET POSITIVE RESULTS. WE HAVE SEEN A SYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS THAT ARE POSITIVE AND VERY COMPROMISED PATIENTS THAT END UP BEING NOT POSITIVE SO WE DO EXTENSIVE TESTING ON THEM. BECAUSE OF HOW SICK THEY ARE. WE ARE ALL QUITE COMFORTABLE WITH IT AT THIS POINT. WE DEFINITELY ARE NOT COMPLACENT AND WE STILL TAKE EVERYTHING VERY SERIOUSLY. BUT YOU KNOW, ER PEOPLE, WE TEND TO ACCLIMATE REALLY QUICKLY. WE ARE NOT GOING TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE IN THAT KIND OF FEARFUL MINDSET SO EVERYBODY SEEMS REALLY JUST OKAY WITH WHAT WE ARE DOING. WHEN WE HAVE UNKNOWN THE POSITIVE, IT USED TO BE A FEW WEEKS AGO, IT WAS ALMOST LIKE OH MY GOSH, IT'S POSITIVE. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? AND NOW IT'S LIKE OH YEAH, OKAY. SO WE MOVE ON WITH OUR BUSINESS. SO, THE THING THAT I FIND MYSELF THINKING ABOUT TODAY A LOT WAS THE FACT THAT THIS IS HOW IT'S GOING TO BE FOR A LONG TIME. I TRUST EVERYBODY WHO IS MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT OPENING THINGS AND I DEFINITELY UNDERSTAND THE PRESSURE TO REOPEN THINGS AND ALLOW PEOPLE THE FREEDOM TO MOVE AROUND AND WORK AND DO WHAT THEY NEED TO NEW TO DO. BUT HONESTLY I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE COMING WEEKS AS WE DO OPEN UP. I MEAN, CONSIDERING SIX MONTHS AGO WE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS VIRUS COME WE DON'T KNOW MUCH BUT WE KNOW, WE LEARNED A LOT REAL FAST AND IT SEEMS LIKE IT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. I THINK WE WILL STILL BE VERY MUCH SEEING COVID PATIENTS HERE EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT YOU KNOW MONTHS OR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. I FEEL LIKE ONCE WE GET INTO THE FALL, WE WILL SEE THE USUAL THINGS OF FLU PATIENTS MIXED WITH COVID PATIENTS AND IT WILL GET MORE COMPLICATED. SO, YOU KNOW, I AM OKAY WITH THAT BECAUSE I MEAN, WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE, REALLY? I THINK I'M STARTING TO REALIZE THAT THIS IS WHAT WE WILL BE DOING FOR MONTHS. >> COVID-19 GOING TO STICK WITH ALL OF US. WE WANT TO SAY ON THIS NURSES APPRECIATION WEEK AND WE WANT TO RECOGNIZE NURSE WHEELER AND THE OTHER PROFESSIONALS WORKING DAILY TO SAVE LIVES. WE SO APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU DO. IN ADDITION TO HER NURSING, SHE HAS A LITTLE ONE AT HOME. >> DUKE HAND SELECTED HER AS AN EXEMPLARY NURSE TO PROVIDE A BLOG TO UPDATE US AND WE THANK