Westward Independent

A Nurse’s Exodus – Systemic Failures Amid A Pandemic

by Westward Independent
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In 2020, news of an impending pandemic came in from foreign countries.

I was a new nurse working on a surgical floor in Duncan. Despite only graduating from nursing school recently, I was frequently the most senior on the floor and took the role of charge nurse, as we worked very understaffed shifts. Although I was pregnant during the COVID-19 outbreak, I embraced my duties at the hospital, even offering to work on the “COVID unit” if need be. Word of a vaccine went out, and being a cautious mom-to-be, I did not want to get the vaccine.

When I went on maternity leave, I soon heard that the vaccination would be mandatory to come back to work. In a last-minute decision, I left the country with my young family to work in a state in the US that was happy to get my skill set, without requiring me to put medication in my body that was experimental. My floor lost over a dozen skilled professionals. I cannot explain to you the devastation in the hospitals because of these mandates. My friends, from my old floor, tell me about patients being found cold and dead in their beds in the morning, because they were not able to be checked on properly.

Patients are unable to get the support they need to palliate comfortably. Patients with broken bones languish, developing sores and infections because the nurses do not have the time to turn them. This system was broken when I worked there, with staffing being a huge issue. I cannot imagine the horrors that nursing staff and patients experienced after thousands of healthcare workers were fired. This lunacy does not save lives. The staffing crisis that this has caused has caused thousands to suffer and die. I was not fired. I don’t count in the numbers. I resigned. The last line of my resignation letter outlining my concerns and frustration reads, “I will not be returning to my job in March. I would say, your loss, but actually, the patient’s loss.” Shockingly, this rings as true 3 years later, as it did then.

Rachel Bekeza RN

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