Kelly Clark is a true Gamecock nurse as a BSN alumni, current MSN student, and undergaduate Clinical Instructor. She is also a hero working as a frontline healthcare worker at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital.
How has covid-19 impacted your job/role as a nurse?
Many people see the impact of Covid-19 and how it has overwhelmed the healthcare system. As a nurse in the pediatric world that was not the case. Due to the pandemic, elective procedures in my hospital were stopped therefore there were significantly fewer patients. With this extreme drop in patients my unit’s census was low, so it was decided to temporarily close the unit and combine us with another unit. Some of my coworkers were furloughed, but luckily, I was able to continue working in the new, combined unit. In the midst of the worst health care crisis in modern history, not only was I struggling with worrying about the pandemic but I also had to adapt to an entirely new work environment. The stress of everything at times seemed overwhelming, but the new unit welcomed us with open arms; together we made it through. As a nurse I never thought that I would have to worry about keeping a job during a global pandemic, but I did.
As a Clinical Instructor, I am used to teaching nursing students, in person, in the hospital, getting hands on experience. During Covid-19, I had to adapt and learn how to teach clinicals online. This was extremely challenging for me at first, but with the advanced technology and online simulations, I was able to adapt. With the help of the amazing instructor who I teach for, Dr. Davis, I was able to provide real life experiences for my students.
Have you learned anything about yourself as a nurse from this pandemic?
As a nurse during a pandemic, I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. I also found that I am able to adapt to the unexpected. In healthcare you never know what the day will bring, so you always have to be prepared for what lies ahead. The pandemic has shown me that I am a strong, compassionate, caregiver even under the worst imaginable circumstances.
How are you staying positive?
Through everything I stayed positive by remembering my purpose and why I come to work every day – it is, and always has been for my patients. At the beginning of this pandemic one of my frequent patients gave me a heart that said, “Roses are red, violets are blue, the floor wouldn’t be the same without you – best nurse ever.” I hung this heart up at home where I can see and be reminded of my purpose every time I leave for work. This helped me make it through the long days of uncertainty during this pandemic.
What are the challenges that you have faced?
During this pandemic I have faced many personal and professional challenges. Personally, the hardest thing for me, was having to stay strong for my patients and family when even I was scared of what may lie ahead.