MANCHESTER, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lynn Myers is a registered nurse in the ICU at Unity Medical Center in Manchester.
“How are you feeling?” asks News 2’s Alex Denis. “Exhausted, overwhelmed, defeated,” Myers responds, “For the longest time, we felt like we’re the front liners. We’re taking care of business. Now it feels like we are the last liners.”
Her facility, like so many others, has seen a major increase in COVID-19 admissions pushing them to the brink.
“Around the state and around the South the beds are full. I hear people saying, ‘is it the fact that there’s more patients or the fact that there’s not enough nurses?’ It’s both,” answers Myers.
The pandemic hit during a time when the country was already facing a critical nursing shortage.
“It’s not just nursing care. It’s critical nursing care,” Myers explains. “You have to have a certain set of skills to be able to take care or these patients and not all nurses have that.”
That specialized skillset is being tested even for the most senior nurses like Myers.
“I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years and I’ve never seen patients that can go this unstable this fast. They can be perfectly fine and then be trying to die very, very quickly.”
It’s around-the-clock care for people Myers says should be enjoying their prime.
“The patients that we’re seeing in our hospital that are the sickest are unvaccinated. Our patients are ranging from 30-50 years old. I haven’t seen an elderly patients in weeks, because most of them got vaccinated.”
She’s not sure what else she can say to convince people to take control of their future, so instead here’s her plea.
“It doesn’t matter if you have COVID or not. If you come to the ER, if you have a heart attack, if you have a stroke, if you’re in a car wreck, [then] the bed is not going to be there. We need the community’s help. We can’t continue to do this without their help.”
Myers hopes more people will get vaccinated. But, if they don’t, then she says please wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.