News

COVID-19 and long-term care: Nurse perspectives


COVID-19 hit long-term care facil­i­ties early and hard in Washington state. The WSNA Commu­nity and Long-Term Care Task Force recently checked in with two long-term care nurses to find out what they have learned throughout the pandemic and how they are taking care of themselves as it continues.

Wa nurse nordi

Betsy Nordi, RN

Betsy Nordi, RN #

Nurse Consultant #

What is your profes­sional experience?

I’ve held an AA degree in nursing with geriatric specialty for 10 years and have spent the past seven years working as a nurse consul­tant at Bonaven­ture of East Wenatchee Assisted Living.”

What has surprised you since the pandemic started in your community?

The ever-changing regula­tions and require­ments imposed by the DOH and DSHS.”

What are some valuable lessons you have learned, and which of them would you like to pass on to other nurses?

Having a solid team is essen­tial. Learn to see the positives even when you are stretched to the max. We can make a huge differ­ence in the lives of our residents just by giving a smile and listening to them.”

If your residents have required care, how has the commu­ni­ca­tion been between your facility and your local hospital or clinic?

We have not had any COVID-19 cases requiring hospi­tal­iza­tion. We had three asymp­to­matic COVID-positive residents in March, and all have recov­ered through proper hygiene and quaran­tine compli­ance. We were blessed to have Conflu­ence Health come to our facility and test all our employees — their support was very valuable. They regularly commu­ni­cate any changes with us and have been very easy to work with.”

Are you finding things to help you keep your balance?

As an intro­vert, I have not had any trouble staying home and social distancing during my time off, so perhaps I have it easier than most. I have also taken up a few new hobbies and studies in my free time.”


Wa nurse van hook

Cindy Van Hook, MSHCA, BSB, RN

Cindy Van Hook, MSHCA, BSB, RN #

Community Health Director #

What is your profes­sional experience?

I have a bachelor’s degree in business, an associate degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health care admin­is­tra­tion. I have been in long-term care nursing for 25 years. I have been working at The Gardens at Town Square for six years and with Era Living for seven years.”

What has surprised you since the pandemic started in your community?

Many things: the lack of profes­sional leader­ship from Presi­dent Trump and how [the pandemic] is a polit­ical issue’ and it shouldn’t be; pandemic fatigue of essen­tial caregivers; non-medical people making medical decisions; how it has affected ALL aspects of life; the functional decline of the elderly due to isola­tion… I could go on and on.”

What are some valuable lessons you have learned, and which of them would you like to pass on to other nurses?

Don’t take decisions made out of your scope of influ­ence person­ally. Do your best each day, knowing your best will fluctuate. Take self-care very seriously. Be mindful to stay in the moment — let the past go, and do not take on the worry of tomorrow.”

If your residents have required care, how has the commu­ni­ca­tion been between your facility and your local hospital or clinic?

So far, so good.”

Are you finding things to help you keep your balance?

I work the hours needed — no more, no less. I exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. I get a good quantity and quality of sleep. I’m not be too hard on myself and don‘t take things home with me. I have one or two confi­dants at work. I stay off electronics/​news and disconnect.”