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Jessica McBryde: Nursing is ‘my calling’May 07, 2020

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By Christopher Hadorn, Midland Reporter-Telegram

Jessica McBryde understands how difficult it can be for loved ones to be unable to visit a COVID-19 patient at Midland Memorial Hospital because of new rules that prohibit visitors in order to curtail the virus’ spread.

McBryde, 30, is attending to COVID-19 patients as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at MMH. While the new rules may prohibit visitors, McBryde finds ways for her patients to stay in touch with their families.

“Since we can’t have visitors at the hospital, one of the things I try to do is spend a little time in the patient’s room,” McBryde said. “I will hold their hand, talk to them. If I can, I will get their family on the speaker phone and take my phone into the room so the family can talk to the patient even if they are sedated. I try to keep their TVs on, open the blinds in their room, just try to make it a little more homey if I can. I try to keep the news off. I like to put on Food Network or Discovery Channel, something to get their minds off what is going on.”

Providing attentive care to people in need is why McBryde, a Tall City native, went to Midland College for nursing school and now finds herself in the midst of fighting a pandemic

“I think it’s just my calling,” McBryde said of nursing. “I want to make people feel better and comfort them and be there for them in their most vulnerable times.”

McBryde, who graduated from MC in December 2018, said caring for a COVID-19 patient is no different from attending other illnesses, except the nurses are using more personal protective equipment in terms of gowns, masks and gloves. She said the hospital is providing them special surgical scrubs just for COVID-19 treatment.

She said one of the top priorities is preventing the spread.

“I’m washing my hands enough where my hands are raw at the end of the day,” McBryde said.

McBryde said her team does continuous monitoring of COVID-19 patients on the fifth floor, which includes frequent checking of temperatures and breathing sounds. They also conduct diagnostics such as chest X-rays and lab work to see if patients are improving.

The challenge of battling the coronavirus is a fight that McBryde embraces.

“It’s an honor to be part of this,” McBryde said. “We have an excellent team, and I love being a part of this team. I love being part of this process and kind of watching history and watching these patients improve. See how we change medicine to have better outcomes for patients. But I don’t consider myself a hero. We’re just doing our job with extra protective equipment.

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