Life as a Nurse During COVID-19

Ashley Hoffpauir

Front line healthcare personnel have always been heroes, and the COVID-19 crisis has certainly confirmed that fact. Their strength, determination and ability to keep moving forward in a situation that changes every day has been nothing short of inspiring. For Slidell Memorial Hospital ICU Nurse Ashley Hoffpauir, caring for others has always been a passion. Instead of focusing on the negative, she is taking this time to notice the good in people. “What stands out the most is the selflessness of others and the teamwork I have witnessed.” Every person within the hospital has come together to support the community. “The camaraderie that this crisis has built, not only in our ICU, but between the separate units has been amazing to witness,” said Hoffpauir.

Hospitals across the nation are having to step-up like never before. With social distancing and strict visitation policies, COVID patients are looking to their caregivers for emotional support. Hoffpauir says it’s an honor that keeps her motivated each day. “From being there to provide reassurance for scared patients, to holding the hand of a patient as they pass away while their family watches through a screen. These are the experiences that are so humbling and will forever be etched in my heart.” It’s a difficult role to fill but one thing that has motivated everyone to keep moving forward is the overwhelming amount of community support. The meals, cards, artwork from children and prayers provide a small break from the chaos. Hoffpauir recalls one evening as she was leaving the hospital, seeing members of the community lined down the street showing gratitude with signs, music and applause. “My coworkers and I all broke down; it was such a beautiful gesture.”

Having the responsibility of being a nurse during this crisis has reminded Hoffpauir how truly precious life is, especially time spent with her two young children. “From watching their faces while they play in the sprinkler to our evening walks and bike rides together, these are the moments I am truly thankful for and may not have had if life kept going at its usual pace.” Hoffpauir uses this time as a way to recharge, allowing her to return to work and give more of herself to those less fortunate. When asked about what advice she would give to her community, Hoffpauir says “to not let these difficult times get us down, we will all get through this together. Just stay patient, it will absolutely save lives.”