William Onieal, MHA, BSN, RN, CEN
As someone who is seeing what’s going on with this virus first hand. Please stay home and do not get exposed. You will be doing a huge service to our healthcare system.
Today was a really bad day. It has been busy as hell as usual, except today I experienced something I have never experienced before.
Who am I to play God? Who am I to make these decisions on who lives and who dies. How do you explain to 6 families that their loved ones died because the decision was made that their likelihood to survive was not as great than someone else’s. How do you tell the children of these patients that they died alone with no one there to hold their hand during those final moments.
These are the questions I asked myself after I left work, got into my car in the parking lot, and broke down crying knowing that 6 other families were never going to see their loved ones again because of a decision I had to be a part of. How do I explain to the families that there were only enough resources available to save 1 person.
I became a nurse for the same reason that many others in this profession chose to be a nurse. To do our best and give more of ourselves to our patients than we do to ourselves. We all took that oath to do no harm. We took that oath to advocate for our patients and families to see them through their worst moments. There are so many stories that we as nurses experience that are negative, but that one positive story overshadows anything negative that happens.
As this continues, you begin to feel numb as you hear the codes being paged overhead that they are doing CPR on another patient. They are doing CPR on the 6th patient within 3 hours that have more often resulted in futility because of this virus. You begin to try to just make it through the day doing the best that you can.
Everyone I work with is not just giving 100%, they are giving 250% literally. Nurses are working 16 hours on and sleeping 8 hours in the hospital to wake up and work another 16 hours day after day in what has become a war zone throughout this country. This is not unique to any one hospital, this is happening day after day in every hospital in the world.
So I ask, no I plead that you stay home, keep social distancing, stop this spread. If you want to help, this is your opportunity. Help by keeping yourself safe, wash your hands, and wear a mask so that your families are not placed into a situation where it is them versus 6 other people for which 1 of the 7 critically ill will survive. The odds are not in your favor.
I still love being a nurse and to work hand in hand with my team is an honor. I wouldn’t choose to be with any other team.
Cynthia K. Kneisler, RN, BSN, MaED, CSN-NJ
I have been a pre-hospital care provider in EMS for many years and later became a nurse. I received my School Nurse Certification and Masters of Health Education through Felician College.
Never did I expect to be on the front line of such a terrible health crisis that we all face today. I have had extensive training on many different emergency subjects but this has redefined how to not only care for very ill patients but protect ourselves as well. This is especially concerning for me as I have numerous family members serving the community through EMS, Fire, and Police. Several are nurses working in the hospital emergency rooms and ICU areas. We are all trying our hardest to help those in need.
Currently I am working as a School nurse and I remain very active even if I am not in my building. Many of the students are anxious about what will happen to them as well as to family members. I work with them through virtual meetings. My fellow nurses and I are also very involved in working with local, county, and state representatives in how to plan to reopen schools in the fall.
It has been a challenging time. What is important right now is to be prepared. This is one of the lessons I learned through Felician College. I learned how important it is to do your research, understand the problem and prepare yourself for what needs to be done. We do not know what the future holds for us at this time or how long this pandemic will last. But as we move forward and work to end this crisis I will continue to prepare myself in any way necessary to remain safe, and to help those in need.
Colleen Frankenfield, RN, NHA, AAS, BA, MS, JD
I began working with older adults in senior care while I was in high school. I remember my mother always telling me that nursing was a great career choice and would open many doors for me. Fast forward 40 years later, and my mother was exactly right and she probably would never believe where the education, training and the values that I received from my Felician education would lead me.
Today, as the CEO of an organization that provides senior services, hospice, home care, senior housing and support services to over 6000 individuals a year, I draw on the education that Felician provided me in nursing, but also on the values and sense of responsibility to serve and care for others. Through my course work at Felician, I learned to see the individual needs of others, to strive to alleviate pain and suffering and to value each moment of life so that I could make a difference.
As I look back on these last few months, I know that no amount of education could have prepared us for the challenges that we find with caring for individuals infected with COVID-19. It has been the values and commitment to others that has been really necessary during this challenging time. Anyone can learn infectious disease protocols, but only those that are truly committed can meet the challenge.
During these last two months, I have watched our team members demonstrate that commitment over and over. Talking to staff that were in tears, comforting family that were afraid for their family members or just lost a loved one. These challenges can only be met when a nurse has a strong foundation of knowledge and commitment. Felician instilled both and I am ever grateful for the education that I received at Felician. Join me in supporting the development and scholarship of more nurses in one of the best programs on the East Coast!
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Felician University engages over 2,300 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in arts & sciences, business, nursing, and education. Universal Franciscan values of social justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity serve as an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow's leaders. Felician University's education is ranked 3rd best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked #1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com.