Faces of the Frontlines: Nurse says being prepared is key no matter what she faces
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As a registered nurse in the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Annabelle Fisher is prepared for anything, and in her 15 years with the hospital, she has seen just about everything.
“We always have to be prepared for anything that can come in from the ski area or from anywhere in town,” Fisher said. “I wanted to work in the emergency department when I was a nursing student, and I pretty much got into it three years after becoming a nurse, and I haven’t been anywhere else. I just like the continual flow, never knowing what you’re going to get, and there is a great team of people to learn from.”
Fisher came to Steamboat to ski 21 years ago, and this is where she met her husband, who was teaching snowboarding at the resort. She left briefly to go to nursing school in Denver but returned to Steamboat and has been at the Yampa Valley Medical Center since.
Over the years, Fisher has become used to the unexpected; however, in March, as the world was turned upside down by the novel coronavirus, she was faced with a new type of challenge.
“My job is still similar in as far as, you know, you never know what you’re going to get,” Fisher said. “But now, you just never know what you’re going to get when you come in the morning in different aspects. Now you have to have a different level of mental preparedness that is different than what we’re used to.”
She said the staff in the emergency department now has to treat every patient as though they have COVID-19.
“The job now requires a different type of mental hardness,” Fisher said. “We have to wear different clothes and wear a mask and just not knowing if we are going to be exposed. You have to always keep that in the back of your mind that this could be a COVID patient even if they are coming in with a leg pain. Everyone has to be treated in exactly the same way in that respect.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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Sheila Symons’ son got COVID-19 around Labor Day. He has since missed about five weeks of school, spent five days at Children’s Hospital in Aurora and has seen more doctors than an 11-year-old child should.