This has been a pretty wild month and a half as a nurse. When COVID-19 first became a reality, we lived in a lot of anticipation—just waiting for it to get crazy. I work on an internal medicine unit, so COVID-19 patients are right in our wheelhouse. As we watched the situation unfold in places like Italy and NYC, the question in everyone’s mind was “Will it be like that here?”
Living in that anticipation was the most stressful for me—just waiting, watching, and preparing for the craziness we knew was coming. The situation seemed to change almost hourly and something new was always going on. There are now new policies, information on how to be diligent with our supplies, education on caring for COVID patients, construction crews adapting our unit to be more prepared, and daily hospital Zoom calls to inform us of the latest information. As of right now, we’re a full COVID unit. Surprisingly, it feels almost normal now—my coworkers are awesome and they’ve come together even more to care for these patients.
I definitely feel the weight of this situation, including a lot of responsibility to provide care to the best of my ability. People say to me, “Bless you, I wouldn’t ever want to touch those people,” or “How are you okay putting yourself at risk like that?” Comments such as this just remind me that Jesus went toward those who were sick and hurting, even the extremely contagious lepers, and cared for them. It is my prayer that I would be able to do the same. I’m aware that I’m able to be the hands and feet of Jesus in caring for these patients in a time that is scary and lonely for them.
One of the biggest blessings has actually been meeting with my NCF students. We’ve been having small group online, studying Scripture together, and it’s been awesome! Last week, we studied Mark 4, the story of Jesus calming the storm. As we talked, we discussed how, in the midst of a huge storm, the disciples panicked. They questioned Jesus: "Don't you care if we drown?"
We talked about how relatable that was to this time, how crazy things feel and how it is easy to panic and question the Lord. However, Jesus steps in and said, "Quiet! Be still!" When he said this in the Mark episode, not only did the storm calm instantly, but so did the disciples. I believe that this is what Jesus would say to us today, that he doesn't just tell the storm of the coronavirus to "be still," but also tells our hearts to "be still." He is with us, he is in control, and we have no reason to fear.
It has also been a huge blessing to still see some of my students at the hospital! Several of them work as nursing assistants, and some even on my unit. I absolutely love my work with NCF, and getting to bring together my hospital job with my NCF work has always been one of my favorite things. During this time when I can’t meet up with my students in person, it has been even more sweet to work together, taking care of patients.
This time has stirred so many emotions for me: mourning the loss of things that won’t get to happen, anxiety about what is to come, sadness for patients who are really sick, and pride in my amazing coworkers and hospital. But more than anything, my greatest emotion is thankfulness. I’m thankful that my hope and peace are not in the situation at hand, but in the ever-constant Jesus who holds the whole world in his hands.
Bethany Miller, BSN, RN is a staff nurse and an NCF campus minister, living the Gospel with and for nursing students in her area. Read about why she devotes time to serving with NCF in this 2017 blog post.