‘Am I completely gowned up? Do I have everything on correctly?’ Jarylin Bishop thought as she stood in front of the doorway to the patient’s room. On the other side of the door was her first COVID-positive patient. She started her job just a few weeks before and was still on orientation for the night shift. But she didn’t have a choice. In the ICU for the Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital, she had to trust herself and everything she had trained for and step through the doorway.
The month before her first COVID patient, she moved to Bedford County with her family. But that wasn’t the only thing she did that week. Jarylin passed the state boards, sold her house, started moving into her family’s new home, and began her new ICU nursing job at the hospital. While most people would say that’s enough stress for one person, the pandemic hit America within the next 30 days. By mid-March, patients with COVID were coming into her hospital.
At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals around the globe didn’t know how to tackle this new virus with mys- terious effects on people. The ICU team at the Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital was doing their best to get the highest recovery rate possible. While every town, every hospital, and every family has an upsetting COVID story, we rare- ly hear about the recoveries and victories that happened in hospital rooms across the world.
“That’s one of the reasons I love bedside nursing so much, being able to watch patients progress,” Jarylin began. “I mean, I’ve had patients where I think ‘Oh my goodness. This does not look good.’ Then I watch them make a full recovery.”
While Jarylin can recall stories from every room in the ICU where a patient either passed away or recovered, it’s the reunion with family that keeps her going.
“It’s not always good. One of the hardest things for nurses is the number of patients we lose,” she said. “The recoveries and the victories are what keeps us going. Seeing really sick patients get better, seeing families get their loved ones back… Those are the things that make all the difference in nursing.”