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Nebraska Medicine ICU nurse says numbers of patients ‘hard to manage’

While the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU is down from the peak of the pandemic, it’s still piling on the pressure.
Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 3:38 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - From one critical patient to the next, ICU nurses are torn between patients as the pandemic persists.

“Obviously, you’re going to go towards your sicker patient and really care for them; but then you’re neglecting other patients that might not be as sick at the time, but their status can change in an instant,” said Ashley Johnson, a nurse at Nebraska Medicine.

Prior to the pandemic, Johnson said each nurse typically took on two patients.

“With this pandemic, with the nursing shortage, we are most definitely usually taking three patients, and that’s hard to manage,” Johnson said.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU is down from the peak of the pandemic, but it’s still piling on the pressure.

“It’s definitely taking up beds that we don’t have,” Johnson said. “Those unvaccinated are still getting very sick and taking up a lot of our ICU.”

But Johnson is not interested in trying to convince anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re not going to change minds. I wish one interview could change minds, but there’s already been thousands and thousands of them, so I just want to bring awareness,” said Johnson, who’s sharing insights from the ICU.

“Each patient regrets not getting it and it’s very unfortunate because likely by then it’s too late,” Johnson said. “And, not only that once a family member gets critically ill with COVID, they’re quickly going out and getting vaccinated as soon as they can because they now see the effects of the virus and the effects it can have on just anyone.”

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