Nurses reflect on tough year

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Health care workers have always played an important role in our lives. During the pandemic, that became even more apparent.

On Thursday, nurses are in the spotlight on National Nurses Day. Brookings Health System employs more than 120 nurses.

Helping people is a passion for Sara Sheeley, that’s why she became a registered nurse.

“I just had that urge to try to make people feel better and care for them,” Brookings Health System RN Sara Sheeley said.

Sheeley gives hands-on care to patients, something she continued to do when COVID cases were surging back in the fall.

“It was hard emotionally, physically. We had to do things we never thought we’d have to do, seeing people without their loved ones by their side as they’re fighting this illness was really tough to deal with,” Sheeley said.

Sheeley’s co-worker, Kim Jensen, also found herself in uncharted territory during the pandemic.

The RN case manager’s job is to find safe discharge plans for patients.

“Family, obviously, couldn’t be involved and so try to be the advocate for the patient, at the same time trying to keep the family informed over the telephone to what was going on,” Brookings Health System RN case manager Kim Jensen said.

Despite the hardships, Sheeley says nurses are here for a reason.

“If it wasn’t for us who would take care of the sick? Who would be there for them,” Sheeley said.

And she can’t imagine doing anything else.

A Brookings Health System spokesperson says the hospital’s peak COVID hospitalizations were at 11 around Thanksgiving, but there were times during the pandemic when all 24 inpatient care beds were full.

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