Nurse vows to be a warrior as Jamaica battles COVID
Healthcare workers have been on the front line doing battle with the dangerous coronavirus. And despite the risk that they, too, can become infected by the highly contagious virus, they have been demonstrating tremendous courage, skill, and dedication as they go about their tasks. One such healthcare worker is Kevin Morrison, a nurse at the St Ann's Bay Hospital who was involved in the care of one of the COVID patients who has recovered from the disease.
"Working with COVID patients makes me feel like I have a purpose that is deeper than the surface, bigger than me," he told THE STAR.
Morrison, who hails from Great Pond, Ocho Rios, chose nursing because he is a people person who loves to socialise. "Initially, when I applied to university, I got through for pharmacy and radiography. I wanted a profession where I could express myself," said the man who has been a nurse for 18 months.
The 26-year-old told THE STAR that he was initially fearful about working with COVID patients, but over time, he has come to accept his journey.
"If this is how I can contribute to help my country and hospital then so be it, I will be a warrior for Jamaica."
"The first day that I heard I was going to work with COVID patients, I was a bit scared because I heard a lot about how terribly it's affecting other countries. I was, like, 'Are we prepared for this? Can St Ann's Bay Hospital really handle this?' But I pulled up my pants, buckled my belt, and I went in," Morrison said.
In anticipation of the coronavirus getting to Jamaica, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton mandated all hospitals to create COVID wards to house patients. Morrison noted that persons in these isolation facilities are not just COVID patients, but they are persons who before they got ill, were leading normal lives.
"It is not a comfortable position to be for them to be away from family and loved ones. It takes a toll on them mentally, so when I go in for work, I make sure they are good. I crack jokes and strike up some conversations. Being in a state of good mental health is very important. COVID is one thing, but the depression side of it is a whole different thing all together," he added.
Morrison stressed that COVID has no regard for persons, thus anyone could also end up being a patient.
"I have to love all my patients and treat them with respect because they didn't want this for themselves, and we don't know who might get this thing or what might happen after we do," said Morrison. "Right now, I'm just trying to live every moment and make use of every single second I have," he said.
Jamaica's first recovered COVID-19 patient was treated at the St Ann's Bay Hospital. Morrison praised the efforts of the entire hospital staff in the historic feat.
"We have a saying that everybody is the same, so there is no professional career that's bigger than the other," he said. "It's all about team work. Nurses get along well with other staff. Everybody feels like they are a part of a team working to make our patients happy and healthy."
And having worked with COVID-19 patients, and knowing how treacherous the virus can be, Morrison said that he does everything to protect his family when he gets home.
"I limit the interaction with my family because I don't want to be responsible for harming any of my loved ones. I have my grandmother here ... and right now, I put her in isolation. She can't come out to see her favourite grandson," he said
Reminiscing on life before COVID, he told THE STAR that he now views life from a different perspective.
"I'm a very positive young man who cared about the finer things in life, but you see since this COVID thing, it show me that all the things we chase in this life - the money and other material stuff - are worth next to nothing now," he said.
"I don't hear anybody talking about racism, anymore prejudice. Everybody is just talking about one thing, and that's life and survival. Life is more than what we put emphasis on, so let's just live, but at the same time, do so responsibly," Morrison added.