April 2, 2020

'We are committed to the sick and vulnerable under the most challenging circumstances'

UCalgary clinical nursing instructor Megan Keszler reflects on nursing and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic

As Term 6 clinical education came to an abrupt end, I struggled as a nursing instructor on how to fulfill my duties to my students and provide them with learning in a social distancing era. The answer came to me as I prepared for my first shift back in the ICU after only working there once every two weeks during clinical education.

We, as nurses, have a responsibility to the next generation to show them not only the ideal and textbook version of nursing, but the real, even the ugly, side.

"This isn't what I signed up for."

But it is. We are committed to the sick and vulnerable under the most challenging circumstances. We are committed despite our fears.

I have seen wonderful nurses and other team members overcome and provide excellent care in spite of the daunting challenge ahead of us.

"This isn't what I signed up for."

We have a responsibility as nurses to stand up for what's right and safe. Advocate for your safety so you can better provide for patients. Don't play the hero and put your own life at risk. Be the change you want to see.

"This isn't what I signed up for."

In trying times of any variety, we must look out for each other and ourselves. Do not be ashamed to engage mental health resources. Do not be afraid to take care of yourself. My students have seen me at my worst. Now they need to see me take care of myself.

"This isn't what I signed up for."

We all did, but at the same time, none of us did. Now is the time to weather together, to bring forward the nursing profession, to shine the light and celebrate each other. Learn from our mistakes and incorporate it into being a better nurse and person.

I am in no way perfect. I have many faults. I struggle with demons. But I am resilient, open to change and open to the challenge ahead.

Be the change you want to see.

Megan Keszler with Term 5 UCalgary Nursing students at RGH 71 in December 2019.

Megan Keszler with Term 5 UCalgary Nursing students at RGH 71 in December 2019.

Megan Keszler is a critical care registered nurse and nursing instructor at the University of Calgary. She works at the bedside with COVID-19 patients as much as 64 hours a week. Keszler is currently working in the ICU at South Health Campus.

 

UCalgary resources on COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of COVID-19, visit the UCalgary COVID-19 Response website.