Caring for COVID-19 Patients: 'As Stressed and Fearful as I've Been, This is Why I Became a Nurse'

Her family is feeling the pandemic in other ways. Peter, a pastor, is working from a home but joins in the weekly broadcast from his church of worship services to quarantined parishioners. Son Mitchell, 13, is a middle-school student, but daughter Kaylyn, 17, is a senior whose prom has been canceled and her graduation put on hold; son Matthew, 20, is finishing up college courses from home.

“I don’t share much with them,” Cedar says. “I don’t want them to live this horror.”

But familial bonds also have been forged and strengthened on her job — and affirmed her commitment to a career as a nurse that she began in 1996.

“There have been many days when I’ve gone home and said to my husband, ‘Today was worse than yesterday, and tomorrow will probably be worse than today,'” she says. “It’s just that overwhelming. I’ve never had that. That’s a feeling that’s really hard to get out from under.”

“During difficult situations I turn to God. We’re a Catholic hospital. I’m not personally Catholic, but I am still a religious person,” she says. A daily phone conference with administrators at the hospital begins with prayer, and two times during the day another inspirational quote or Bible verse is broadcast over the hospital’s public address system. “These little encouragements that we have, it just helps so much.”

“I do feel like there is something to be learned from this,” she says. “It’s hard, but as I go through all these cycles of emotions, I am becoming more resilient. I’m growing stronger, and I’m not crumbling.”

“People have asked, do you regret becoming a nurse? Absolutely not,” says Cedar. “As stressed and fearful as I’ve been, I like to think I’m growing stronger and more capable at what I’m called to do. This is why I became a nurse.”

  • Reporting by DIANE HERBST

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