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'Challenging With All The Unexpected Events': Memorial Hospital Pembroke Nurses Speak About Challenges During The COVID Pandemic

PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – Two veteran registered emergency room nurses from Memorial Hospital Pembroke are speaking with CBS4 about the challenges of their work during the past two years of the COVID pandemic.

They spoke with CBS4's Peter D'Oench amid a new survey from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses which found that 70% of nurses nationwide said their experiences during the pandemic caused them to consider leaving their jobs.

Cinthia Rogers, who has been a registered nurse for 10 years, said, "The last two years have been the most challenging years of my entire nursing career."

Rogers showed CBS4 the personal protective equipment that she has been wearing during the P-pandemic.

Jannie Garcia, who has been a registered nurse for 12 years, said, "I would say the last two years have been challenging with all the unexpected events and you have to go with the flow amid all the new information you receive during your shifts."

Rogers added, "Sometimes we work 12 to 14 hours a day, but the most difficult thing is that, one of the hardest things, is when patients who go through those doors do not make it. And the most difficult thing is for families who are not able to be at bedside and have time to prepare. It was something that just attacked their families. We have had health care workers who have had family members pass away. The hardest thing for everyone is to hold a loved one's hand and know that their loved one cannot be with them before they go to the other side."

Rogers said Memorial Healthcare has helped through a tremendous support system.

She said, "Memorial Healthcare is very involved with mental health resources that are available to us. We have also had a lot of visits from the executive committee to make sure everyone is taken care of. I also think stepping aside and taking care of family has been the most important lesson to learn, making time for those things."

Garcia said, "We also as a group are making sure that everyone gets vacation time and time off and a chance to re-set before going back, so as a department we are prioritizing that."

Memorial Healthcare has 4,758 nurses at its six hospitals, and a spokeswoman says 999 positions are open.

Rogers and Garcia encourage others to join what they say is a rewarding profession.

Rogers said, "It was something that I was born to do, to be a nurse. It is something I am very passionate about. I know you take an oath to take care of patents and it does come with the downside of losing patients. I think our people here are very strong and that is very important because I know that across the country there is a shortage of nurses."

Garcia added, "We are a very close-knit family here. We have a tight-knit family and the staff and everyone really gets along. We are all very personable and we all know each other's personal lives and we all care deeply for one another. Nursing has changed a lot, but we are all here because we care about each other and we are lucky to have this place that we can call home."

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