COVID-19

Nurses tell of their troubles during Covid period

Nurses say they suferred mental and physical stress during at the height of COVID-19 pandemic.

In Summary
  • Chief Nursing officer at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, Wendy Tirop said it was not easy to watch people walk in, collapse and die or to speak to a patient and see them die within the next two minutes.
  • She observed that whatever the society say about a nurse is just but a nice pack because they do a lot.
Nurses at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital dance during the International Nurses Day celebrations on May 12, 2022.
COVID-19 Nurses at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital dance during the International Nurses Day celebrations on May 12, 2022.
Image: LOISE MACHARIA

Nurses suffered mental and physical stress during the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in depression, drug abuse and even suicide, a senior nurse in Nakuru has said.

The Chief Nursing Officer at the Rift Valley General Hospital, Wendy Tirop said many nurses have mental issues that they do not want to identify with.

She observed that health care providers hardly identify themselves with the issues of mental health, they are mostly in denial.

 Speaking during the International Nurses Day, Tirop said nurses sacrifice their health and life as could be seen since the advent of COVID-19 in Kenya on March 13, 2020, with a number of them contracting the disease while others died.

“It was not an easy time during the pandemic and this is part of therapy, we are glad that the hospital has found it wise to celebrate and give them a chance to unwind because they were still healing from what they went through,” Tirop said

She said it was not easy to watch people walk in, collapse and die or to speak to a patient and see them die within the next two minutes.

“We are human with hearts and veins with blood flowing there-in and we also have feelings,” said Tirop who was accompanied by County Executive Committee Member for Health, Jackeline Osoro and Rift Valley PGH Medical Superintendent, Aisha Maina among other health officials in the county.

She urged the County Government to invest in a wellness centre which is friendly to the health care providers.

According to her, mental is a less talked about silent epidemic among medical workers and urged colleagues to accept that they were victims too.

She reiterated the vital role played by nurses in healthcare saying they are the first people patients meet at the hospital and the last on their exit, whether going home or the morgue.

Tirop said healthcare services delivery would be impossible without nurses

“Nurses take care of the sick and the healthy because they do not only work in the hospital but in the communities too, they often forget themselves and prioritise their clients, the patients, the community and family,” she said

She observed that whatever society says about a nurse is just but a nice pack because they do a lot.

“It is not only about the injection or handing out pills or vital signs, they interact with the patient at a personal level and understand them deeper,” she added

Tirop said nurses work so hard that they forget to celebrate their achievements during their heydays only to start enjoying the fruits of their sweat in retirement because they never had time for their 35 to 40 years of service.

“We are here today to celebrate ourselves, our efforts, commitments, the successes and shortcomings and a society that has entrusted their lives to us,” she said.

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