Mid-South nurses talk burnout amid rising covid cases

Memphis, Tenn. — COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the Mid-South. Many who land in the ICU are not vaccinated.

ICU nurses Kelsey Fiveash and Liz Clemons talked to FOX13 about what the past 18 months has been like in the pandemic.

Both nurses said their day-to-day tasks involve rounds on patients, seeing who may have improved, who may have gotten worse. Before entering each patient’s room, each nurse has to dress in personal protective equipment.

Clemons told FOX13, at one point, there seemed like a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, it feels that light is dimming with the recent surge.

”I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can look at a patient and know this is where we’re headed, and you feel all of that trauma again,” said Clemons.

Fiveash tells FOX13, at one point, she didn’t have any covid patients in the ICU.

That quickly changed. “The next day we were starting to see, 2 became 3 patients, 3 became 10, 10 became 30 like that. Covid will definitely humble you,” said Fiveash.

According to the American Medical Association, a survey that polled more than 20,000 healthcare workers found that 49% felt burned out from the pandemic.

Burnout can be common in a high-stress field of work according to clinical social worker Allison White.

White told FOX13 it’s pretty easy to spot the signs.

”I think when you’re having feelings of energy depletion, complete exhaustion or emotional detachment from your job,” said White.

To avoid burnout, White said you have to be intentional with your off time.

”It’s not the time to go and renovate a new section of your house. Taking that time and re-establishing connections with your family or friends,” said White.