Over the past two years, nurses have been some of the most celebrated essential workers. With the last two years of the pandemic, as many have fallen ill and hospitals become crowded, nurses have had to rise to the occasion.
Their lives have become busier than ever, and it’s important to understand what they go through each day to truly appreciate the work they do.
Advanced practice registered nurse Alice Davis said she has worked at the Truman Student Health Center for 12 years. Since she was a child, she knew she wanted to work in the medical field, she said. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Truman State University and her family nurse practitioner certification at the University of Missouri, Davis said.
“I have always had an interest in the medical field,” said Davis. “I don’t remember ever considering anything else.”
During her time as a nurse, Davis said she has worked in several clinics, and since joining the Student Health team at Truman, she has enjoyed working with young adults. She said she likes educating Truman students about health care.
Since Truman’s Health Center partnered with Complete Family Medicine, Davis has had the opportunity to branch out and work in other settings which she said she enjoys.
Before COVID-19, Davis said she would see patients for routine lab work, immunizations and other medical needs.
Now that COVID-19 has made its appearance in Kirksville, Davis said they do a lot of COVID-19 testing. They still do screenings, as they did before, but it’s much busier now.
“Our COVID-related care keeps us busy, especially with the paperwork and reporting involved,” said Davis.
When they’re not testing for COVID-19, Davis said some of the most common ways they treat students is through screenings and wellness check-ups, birth control, skin issues and mental health. They also still give immunizations, do lab work and administer allergy shots, she said.
Davis said all of the COVID-19 chaos has not robbed her of her joy as a nurse practitioner. She said her favorite part of her job is helping people achieve better health, and the most rewarding part of her job is helping people take better care of themselves.
“I have worked as a nurse practitioner for over 20 years now, and I love what I do,” said Davis. “ … I have found [that] our students at Truman give me hope [that] our world may someday be better.”
A lot of stress comes along with being a nurse practitioner, but Davis said she has mastered managing that stress.
During her time off, she said she enjoys spending time with her family and relaxing whenever she can, which sometimes involves escaping the cold.
“I have a wonderful family and amazing grandkids,” said Davis. “I [also] like to quilt, enjoy peaceful days in the country and take trips to warm places.”
During the coming months, Davis said she would love to see some change. She said she wished COVID-19 would go away, but knows it won’t. She also mentioned hospitals need time to restock their supplies and their treatment options for those in need.
After seeing Truman students for over a decade, Davis said she knows some tips and tricks to help them out. Some of this advice includes lowering stress levels and taking good care of themselves, she said.
“Don’t stress the small stuff. Really. Don’t stress so much,” said Davis. “Drink fluids, exercise, sleep eight hours a night and give yourself a break from time to time.”
There is a lot to learn from our nurse practitioner heroes, and hearing about their days only increases our respect for them.