For more than a year, Annie Smith has seen the up-close damage COVID-19 has had on her patients and the emotional toll it’s had on her colleagues.
As a longtime intensive care unit nurse at Ochsner in Baton Rouge, she cared for people during the 2008 swine flu epidemic, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and, like many health workers, she braced before breathing a sigh of relief when the country reported a handful of Ebola cases in 2014.
None of those have compared to the latest health crisis and the burden it’s had on health workers and their spirits.
“Everyone is just as exhausted and ready for a break,” said Smith, 40. “I think right now, there seems to be some sense of relief, but everyone’s exhausted.”
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