Compassion fatigue, staffing, personal loss and more
On the February 6 edition of 60 Minutes, nurses and staff from University of Louisville Health (UofL Health) shared their stories of working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Their stories of triumph, tragedy, and everything in between were at once emotional, sympathetic, and inspiring.
Hearing these stories inspired American Nurse Journal to reach out to UofL Health for a subsequent interview – one that would focus directly on the lives of nurses during the pandemic. We touched on topics such as compassion fatigue, impact on patient/nurse interactions, staffing, and finally, UofL Health’s plans for the future.
Alyssa Parra, MSN, RN, Clinical Manager of the Emergency Department at University of Louisville Hospital, and Shari Kretzschmer, MBA, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Patient Service and Chief Nursing Officer at UofL Health, shared their respective stories, struggles, as well as hope for the future.
Our interview covers the following topics:
- Compassion Fatigue. Clearly, anyone working in nursing is a person blessed with a greater-than-normal capacity for compassion. But as the pandemic persists, even nurses with the biggest heart find themselves impacted by fatigue and burnout.
- Staffing. We’ve all read the horror stories of nurses working beyond overtime; the stories of dozens, sometimes hundreds of nurses calling out as the Omicron variant raged throughout the United States. How are they handling this challenge at UofL Health?
- Personal Stories. Parra shares her own tale of loss during the pandemic.
- Lessons for the Future. Lastly, what have the staff and nurses at UofL Health learned during the COVID-19 pandemic? Obviously, COVID is the healthcare crisis of a lifetime, and we all hope to never again encounter such a trial. But can the lessons of the pandemic be applied to other aspects of daily life and work at the hospital?
Alyssa and Shari answer these questions in our exclusive American Nurse Journal interview.