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YON 2020 Day 320: Autumn Steele, Nursing Student

While completing her studies at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) for the ADN, Autumn Steele also works as a STNA. She writes about what she has learned caring for residents during the pandemic.

I am currently in my last eight weeks of nursing school. It has been the biggest struggle, and yet biggest accomplishment that I have gone through thus far. I started working as an STNA when I was 17 years old. I always knew I wanted to help people and be there for them. Sometimes you are the only person that is there for your patient and it is the most rewarding thing.

Currently I work in a nursing home. During this pandemic we shut down visitations, which resulted in a decline in residents’ conditions. Most of them were not in their normal routine of seeing their families and having that connection. We had to step in and be there for them. We also stopped having activities for a while because we didn’t want residents to congregate in large crowds. We as caregivers had to spend more time with them, whether it was sitting there talking, reading the paper with them, or watching their favorite TV show. Something so little would put a smile on their faces. We were all they had at that time and even still as we are slowly opening visitations back up. It is sad to watch your residents become depressed because they can’t see their families. Some of them have a cognitive deficit and don’t fully understand why their families have stopped visiting them.

That is why it is rewarding to be a caregiver and to be able to be there for your patients. Some patients may not have family at all. You will build such a strong connection with them because you were constantly there for them. Throughout my two years of nursing school, I have learned so much, but going through this pandemic has taught me how much our compassion means to our patients or residents, whether in a hospital setting or a nursing home. It is a very rewarding thing to be a caregiver.

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