Resident ICU nurse shares her experience in “from the Front Lines”

by beth on May 5, 2020

A Boston public radio station reached out to some hospital workers to share their experiences in a “Dispatches from the Front Lines”.  A story posted last week by WBUR included Southborough’s Barbara Braccio, a nurse at a Covid-19 ICU.

Braccio recorded her thoughts for an audio diary. WBUR shared an over 7 minute recording, along with the following text recap:

Braccio says the steady stream of patients are some of the sickest and most challenging she’s seen during 28 years of nursing. Braccio describes a lot of what she and her colleagues are doing as trial and error because so little is known about the disease. And every day is sad and impersonal.

“The patients are at such high levels of sedation, they are a person in a bed, but there’s no connection with them,” she says. “You don’t know them, you don’t know their family, you don’t know their story.”

When Braccio can speak to a family member on the phone, she’s struck by how difficult it must be to have a loved one in critical care and not know what’s going on — how they’re forced to be “just taking the word of a total stranger that we’re doing the best we can to save them.”

Braccio is drained, physically and emotionally. She says there’s no such thing as an emergency in the ICU during the pandemic. Each shift is one long emergency.

“When I walk from the parking garage into the ICU, it’s probably the longest walk of my life because I just don’t know what I’m going into,” she says. “I just think to myself, ‘I hope this is the day after the surge and that my ICU will be cleared out,’ but that hasn’t happened.”

For the full audio diary entry, and other participant’s entries, click here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 RN May 6, 2020 at 7:18 AM

Thank you Ms Braccio for sharing your experience during this difficult time. As a retired ICU nurse I understand your situation although I have never been involved in something so devastating as Covid. I admire and pray for you and all the other health care workers. Please stay safe. Thank you for all that you do.

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