Healthcare Hero: Nicole Schenk
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, especially for those working in healthcare. We recently reached out to some students in our RN to BSN program to learn more about how the pandemic is impacting their lives both on and away from the job.
Nicole Schenk, a 2006 Lakeland graduate, is a registered nurse providing homecare services. She said COVID-19 has primarily affected her job in areas of personal protective equipment (PPE) use and pre-appointment screening.
“I contact patients by telephone the morning of their appointment to verify if they are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 such as fever of 100 or higher, new or worsening cough/shortness of breath, loss of taste and/or smell, sore throat, contact with anyone with the same,” Schenk said.
Since she provides care for patients in their homes, Schenk doesn’t see her co-workers daily, but they talk often. This allows for regular communication about patient care while following social distancing guidelines.
As a nurse, providing care to patients, I’ve been taught the importance of infection control and patient safety. “Having respirators, face masks, eye shields are important pieces of equipment, but with shortages across the country, nurses are faced with not having the proper masks to wear,” Schenk said.
She said other concerns that are common topics of conversation are the progression of the disease, limited healthcare resources, the ability to care for patients and trying to prevent bringing COVID-19 back into their homes to their families.
Schenk is a mom to three children, ages 12, 10 and almost 2, and balancing home, work and school is especially challenging with her older children at home all day while she is working.
“After working a full day, I come home and need to finish my job (charting, emails, patient contacts, etc.), make sure my two older children have completed all their requirements that day for school, do normal house/mom/wife tasks and make sure I have all my requirements done for my class,” Schenk said.
She had been attending Lakeland classes in person to avoid the distractions from home, and now logs in to her class from home each week. “I sit in my room, a quiet place, so I can participate in class,” Schenk said. “It definitely has added some challenges and I cannot wait for life to get back to what I used to consider ‘normal.’”
Click here to learn more about Lakeland's RN to BSN program.