Behind the Mask: Healthcare during the pandemic


Graphic by: Zainib Al-Jayashi

Meg Rajala, Photo Editor

During a global pandemic, there is constant need for action and change within day-to-day living for all, but especially so for those who work within healthcare. Many students, such as Anna Walters, have parents who are working long hours in a hospital and seeing COVID-19’s affect first hand. Although there has been a great amount of controversy regarding necessary precautions, “healthcare workers want to help people safely continue activities and stay healthy” Walters (10) stated. Healthcare workers put not only themselves, but their families at risk daily to help patients in hospitals. With such a high risk of spread and fear of what symptoms of COVID-19 could cause, there are multiple new procedures implicated daily.

In addition to working long hours, healthcare workers also take multiple precautions to reduce the spread and stay safe. “They are in a gown, gloves, mask and goggles for 8 hours” Lauryn Medbury shared. It also requires more hours from workers to follow new procedures. For example, according to Medbury, workers now “have to take patient’s vitals every day twice a day when we used to only take them once a month.” 

In addition, Walters said that they’ve “spent time off from work making changes to their office structure and trying to secure PPE.” 

Medbury has only been working as a CNA and med aid since March, but has definitely had a unique experience entering the healthcare field. Not only have procedures changed for those working in healthcare but also their patients.

Many patients now in hospitals, whether they have contracted the virus or not, are currently unable to have visitors. If they are allowed to see family members they must wear a mask, socially distance, and meet in a special room. Although this is necessary to reduce risk, Medbury says “it’s taking a toll on patients’ mental health”. 

Walters said that, although it’s not easy to think about,“often the elderly die alone because of no visitor policies”. 

Many people are unaware or unable to grasp just how quickly the virus can spread. Walters warns that the rapid growth “can rapidly overwhelm society if left unchecked”. 

“With the current situation you should avoid crowded places and wear a mask with anyone outside of your household,” Walters advised. If the pandemic wasn’t serious there wouldn’t be hospitals reaching maximum capacity and healthcare workers wouldn’t be working countless hours. Healthcare workers are doing all that they can, but the public needs to do more to look out for one another and those whose lives are at stake.