Alumna Takes Action In Health Care Role Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Nicole Merry
I am Nicole Merry, a member of the Gerstell Academy Alumni Class of 2015. After which I received a Bachelors in Science Degree from High Point University. I want to share my story and experience working on the frontlines during the COVID19 Pandemic. 
I am a Patient Care Technician at Carroll Hospital, and I have been there since October 2019.  A lot has changed between then and now.  In the beginning, before this pandemic occurred, it was business as usual, and I had a predictable routine that I went through each day with relatively low stress.  Fast-forward 5 months later, and we are combating a global pandemic that has changed the world.  As we learn better ways to fight this enemy, we have new policies and procedures being implemented each day from The LifeBridge Health Foundation in order to protect the staff and patients.  It is difficult to remember the volume of new procedures, and physically challenging to not only wear protective equipment but also keep mentally sharp in this stressful situation. I work with a team of amazing and dedicated healthcare professionals that support each other and make sure we are always doing what is right and safe. The hospital has made tremendous efforts in trying to be as prepared as possible.  These efforts include: a no visitor policy, required masks for everyone who enters the hospital, turning the auditorium into an area with hospital beds in case there is a surge of patients, and adding at least 12 new hospital rooms dedicated to those who are in critical condition and need a higher level of care due to Coronavirus.  The United States, as a whole, was caught off guard with this pandemic and is running short on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but we are actively trying to overcome and learn from this in hopes that we will be better prepared in the future. This is no doubt an extremely stressful and anxiety driven time for healthcare workers as we do not know what we will encounter throughout our long 12-hour shifts.  After we finish our day, we are faced with the fear of bringing the virus home to our families which we try to prevent in all possible ways.
There are many adversities to persevere through during this most difficult of times, but this virus will pass, and it is my hope that it will make us all stronger, more knowledgeable and safer in the future. 
As for my future plans, I was recently accepted into Nursing School and will be starting classes in August to continue my healthcare journey and further serve my community with courage and dedication.  Even though this has been a lifechanging event for all, it has resulted in confirming my true passion in life of becoming a nurse and caring for others. 
2500 Old Westminster Pike
Finksburg, MD 21048-1823