A nurse’s perspective on dealing with COVID-19

Inna Karpenko is a nurse at Miramont Pointe, a retirement home. We talked with her over the phone to see what it’s like being a nurse with COVID going on.

The Clackamas Print: To start, how long have you been a nurse?

Inna Karpenko: A year and a month.

TCP: What types of things have changed since coronavirus started?

Karpenko: With residents being in their rooms it’s been a lot easier to find them, before I would have to track them down to give them their insulin or medication so that’s been a little easier. There’s also a lot more weekly weight checks now then there was before, a lot of people are losing weight because of the meal selection they have two options now whereas before they had a whole menu to choose from. A lot of people are gaining weight too because they don’t get to go out of their rooms for exercise.

TCP: Does it worry you that you work in a place where you’re more susceptible to getting sick?

Karpenko: No, I feel like there are a lot worse places to work for, places where people work closer to each other. Here everyone’s far apart and we don’t spend as much time in their rooms anymore so I feel it’s not high-risk.

TCP: What new tasks are you having to do?

Karpenko: PPE for sure, gowning up. Before when someone would have a cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, it would be like ‘oh they’re feeling a little sick’, but now we have to make sure it’s all documented, watching out for more episodes, calling the doctors to get a test all depending on how many episodes.

TCP: Has the extra work been inconvenient?

Karpenko: I’ve gotten used to it, I dont think it’s inconvenient. Well it depends, if we have somebody with COVID we have to change out our masks and outfit, washing our scrubs. It’s not really an inconvenience.

TCP: Has the coronavirus affected your work hours?

Karpenko: Yes! A lot of overtime, if a nurse has any symptoms they have to be out for two weeks so a lot of working extra hours. One week I worked 104 hours, because I got trained on every floor so I can cover any shift. I also do the mandatory COVID testing for all the staff, so that adds more hours.