An Edmonton nurse’s instagram post detailing the “new normal” of healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, gets support from people across the country.
Emails went out to hospital staff detailing how their roles would change in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, but Chelsy Vanderberg said there was no way to prepare for the emotional impact it would have.
“It was like a hammer to my stomach,” said Vanderberg. “I’ve been a nurse since 2011 and this was the first time, when I came home, I couldn’t drop it. I couldn’t let it go.”
Now required to wear more personal protective equipment, including a mask, Vanderberg says it’s keeping colleagues from sharing the small, but uplifting exchange of a smile.
“It really changes how you interact with your patients and your coworkers, because it feels like a barrier,” says fellow nurse, Nicole Weir.
On Sunday, Vanderberg worked her first shift since the COVID-19 protection protocol was put in place, and she snapped a photo, later sharing it on instagram.
In the post, Vanderberg writes, “In Emerg, we cope through the hard times with laughter, inappropriate jokes, and smiles that say, ‘I’m here for you.'” She goes on to say, “This is the day I realized I would not see a smile at work for a very long time.”
It ends with the hashtag #pleasestayhome, encouraging everyone to self-isolate and practice physical-distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“It can be hard to put into words, and I think she did a great job emulating what that feels like and helping the rest of us kind of put that into words in a really beautiful way,” said Weir.
The post was met with a flood of support, and “Thank You’s” from colleagues near and far, and shared over 3,000 times.
“I just thought if anyone needed to see this, here it is, the outpouring of love is insane. It is so heartwarming,” said Vanderberg.
Vanderberg is happy to see so many colleagues relating to her words, but she says it also serves as a plea to those not working in healthcare.
“It’s very important to keep yourself, your families and us healthcare workers safe. Because if we are sick, we can’t be there to help the people who really need it. So please, stay home.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Joey Slattery.