Regence nurses share why they went into nursing and how COVID-19 has impacted their work
Recognizing National Nurses Week from May 6 through May 12
National Nurses Week, which occurs May 6 through May 12, is an opportunity to spotlight the incredible nurses throughout Regence and the communities we serve; to thank the individuals who work tirelessly to help and care for others.
This is especially important in 2021, as we continue to work through the pandemic’s many challenges, and more people have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Through it all, our incredible nursing community has helped people nationwide in their health care journeys. We asked several of our Regence nurses to share why they went into the profession and the particular challenges of nursing during COVID-19.
Aly Hiller, Regence care manager clinician
As I think is common for many nurses, I chose to go into the profession to help others. I did an internship in college working with patients who had emotional and developmental disabilities. My experience influenced me to pursue a nursing degree so I could be more involved in caring for patients. One of the aspects that I love about nursing is that it is a field where you can craft your own practice and be creative in doing so.
By training and by nature, I think nurses would consider themselves “fixers” – if there is a problem, we look for every way to solve it. We want to see and to believe that we have made a difference. The past year has proven that we can’t always fix what is broken; not every concern can be addressed with a splint or an IV. The pandemic and other social events have exposed both the challenges people face in their day-to-day lives, as well as our own vulnerabilities. There are so many things out of our hands as nurses, which can cause frustration and the feeling that we aren’t doing enough. Sometimes, though, I think it is not a tangible solution we provide but the simple comfort of a hand to hold or an ear to bend.
Jeana Morris, Regence triage team member
I first experienced working in health care when I was a candy striper in high school. As crazy as this sounds, especially as a teenager, I felt at home when I was at the hospital back then. Throughout my life I’ve also always loved to help people, particularly older adults. Eventually I became a Certified Medical Assistant, but my desire to have a deeper impact helping patients only grew so I then became a registered nurse.
The year 2020 was challenging in so many ways for nurses. One that’s probably universal among nurses is how the needs of both nursing and caring for one’s family changed dramatically. Many nurses did whatever they could to help fill gaps, at work and in their homes at any given moment. While nurses are known for being flexible and getting the job done, the extra strain of COVID-19 has definitely taken a toll physically and emotionally. While trying to support and navigate the ever-changing demands of personal and professional worlds, often a work-life balance is hard to achieve. Ultimately, this created even more stress in an already stressful profession.
Shaleena Newman, Regence care manager clinician
I knew from a very young age that I was going to be a nurse. Growing up, I spent many years caring for my grandfather, who had chronic kidney disease. This experience provided me the opportunity to see that my skills and passion caring for others could apply to the medical field.
This last year of COVID-19 has been particularly challenging for the nursing community. We found ourselves in situations we had never seen before. We faced increased workloads and, sometimes, daily changes in procedures and protocols. We found ourselves providing a higher level of emotional support, especially to those who could not be visited by their family and friends. There were even times when we were tasked with helping families say goodbye over the phone. All these experiences have taken a toll on our emotional well-being, and the pandemic is not over yet.
Jessica Croft, Regence care manager clinician
I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a desire to help others, give back to my community in a positive way and make an impact on the lives of others. This past year has been especially challenging for the nursing community due to unforeseeable events, uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 transmission, prevention and now vaccination. The health care system was put under strain, but nurses all over the world stepped up to fight on the frontlines and upheld the positive image of the nursing community during historic challenges. It has been said that 2020 was the “year of the nurse,” and I feel that nurses everywhere deserve to be proud of the efforts they make and continue to make each day.
Regence’s care management team helps members manage serious health conditions
Regence care management supports the unique needs of members with acute, chronic and major illness episodes or severe illness conditions. The program prioritizes the needs of our members by providing personalized, equitable services that enhance their well-being.
Members can be referred to the program by a provider or can self-refer. In addition, we proactively identify and outreach to those members most likely to benefit from additional support, education and collaboration with providers.
Learn more on our website or call our care management team at 1 (866) 543-5765.