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One year in the pandemic, these nurses share how things are going at the hospital

More than 100 million Americans have been vaccinated, but nurses are still treating patients that are as sick as they were at the start of the pandemic.

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Mary Washington Hospital just made it through its third coronavirus peak.

“This is feeling like a rollercoaster. It goes up, it goes down, goes up, it goes down. You can’t help but worry how many rides up and down of that rollercoaster you can take before it takes a toll,” said Eileen Dohmann, Chief Nursing Officer for Mary Washington Healthcare.  

Katrina Sullivan is an ICU nurse at the hospital. She spoke with WUSA9 last year just a few months into the pandemic. During the last year, she has taken care of the patients that have suffered the most from this virus. 

“I’ve cried more in this last year than I have ever in my life. I cry at work with my co-workers and at home. It’s just been a really challenging tie for all of us because we see a lot of loss,” she said.

There has been so much loss that she and others often think about leaving. But Sullivan said calling it quits, now, would feel as if she were abandoning her patients and co-workers.

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Mary Washington Healthcare has been able to vaccinate more than 150,000 people at its vaccine clinic. But even with those efforts, there are so many others that haven’t gotten the shot. According to Dohmann, the unvaccinated community members are those that are still being admitted to the hospital.

Even the labor and delivery unit was impacted by the virus. Nancy Young is the Nurse Manager at Mary Washington. Several pregnant women were admitted to the hospital during the last year, according to Young. She describes the first few months as a scary time, not knowing how the babies would react to the virus. Now, she’s warning people not to let their guard down.

“COVID is not over and we’re going to stay ready and are prepared for anyone who comes to our hospital and needs our services,” said Nancy.

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As tough as this year has been, it has brought a lot of valuable lessons.

“It’s really opened my eyes to what’s important in life and that’s family and being there for each other in the best way we can,” said Sullivan.

As these nurses continue to fight a battle with an unclear end, they are asking the community for one thing.

“The best way you can help the great nurses that are here, get the vaccine. Even if you’re on the fence and you’re not quite sure, it’s what we have to offer and it’s the one thing that’s between us and getting back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dohmann.

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