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'This job is breaking me,' Virginia nurse says amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:45 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 21:45:13-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A nurse at Henrico Doctors' Hospital in Virginia said what she has witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic has left her broken and emotionally drained.

Lauren Ingle, a RN and BSN who will become a nurse practitioner when she earns her master's degree in August, recently posted about her experiences in the hospital's dedicated COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) on social media.

"This job is breaking me and my team down to the core", Ingle wrote. "My job is to serve everyone, not to not care."

Ingle said what she and her team are experiencing every day is heartbreaking.

"Being a nurse, we're supposed to care for everybody," she wrote. "And when what we do isn't enough, that's very toilsome."

Unless someone is working on the front lines, there is no way to comprehend what medical staff are dealing with, according to Ingle and many others in the medical field.

"I love my patients and my families. We all do," Ingle wrote. "Death is real right now, but not visible to everyone".

The dire conditions have not changed Ingle and her team's commitment to their patients, some of which will not survive.

"They're all exhausted and feel like, we're just not doing enough," Ingle said.

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While Ingle knows she has done everything within her power to help, she said it is hard to come to grips with patients dying alone in their hospital rooms.

"I can't imagine being in their position and not being with their loved one. When they're dying and to say goodbye, so we do what we can for them," she said.

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When the end is near, Ingle works "to take the best care of them I can, to alleviate suffering and then for them not to be alone."

"This virus has made that very difficult," she added.

Ingle recently posted about what things are like in the ICU when a COVID-19 patient is dying.

"As my team and I take our phones out to provide one last goodbye with families through FaceTime, we all cry heavily in silence, underneath our PPE," Ingle wrote.

For many working in the hospital, Ingle's writing rings true.

"This virus has claimed the spot as being one of the most devastating and disheartening events in my nursing career," Ingle said.

After sometimes pulling three physically and emotionally draining 12-hour shifts, Ingle knows that while she and her colleges can win some fights, they will not be able to win the war against COVID-19.

"We all leave feeling the same way: devastated, exhausted, dehydrated, hopeless, and as a failure," Ingle wrote.