What an emergency room nurse thinks about corona panic


Nele, everyone tries to stay away from Corona patients, you go exactly where they hit every day. Aren't you scared?

Mh, fear is said too much. I also believe that there will be a habituation effect at some point, fear rarely remains consistently high. So let's call it better respect, especially since we haven't had FSP masks available for a few days now, but only wear a normal face mask like the one used by particularly careful people on buses. To be honest, I find that quite irresponsible and I can only hope that it will be upgraded quickly.

That doesn't sound like Jens Spahn's "Germany is well prepared" …

No, it doesn't sound like that and I would also like to contradict Mr. Spahn at this point – with all due respect. We are not well prepared. We muddle through quite well. Yet. But a health care system that works with the staff on edge will have a problem if we have case numbers like in Italy at some point.


Do you assume that we will soon have as many deaths here as in Italy?

No. As part of my training, we took a trip to an Italian hospital to see foreign institutions for comparison. Back then I was extremely scared of the conditions there. Working time laws had long since been knocked out, the nurses regularly shift 24-hour shifts even without a corona. In Italy we have an even more disastrous healthcare situation than in Germany. And in the end, dramatically, that will surely also result in deaths.

In your opinion, does it make sense that schools close and public life is almost idle?

Yes! Not because the individual is in great danger, because that is de facto not the case for most people. These measures are about slowing the momentum. And this is important so that we don't have to weigh up who we can ventilate and who we can't, as has already happened in Italy. It would be fatal if too many patients had to receive intensive medical care at the same time. The measures, which may seem disproportionate to many, protect our humanitarian values, so to speak, and I find them absolutely worth protecting. But the care of children by nursing staff and doctors must be guaranteed, even when schools and daycare centers are tight. That is clear.

That sounds kind of violent. Can you understand the people's corona panic?

Total! You can hear something different from all corners and that makes us extremely unsettled. Incidentally, we have no other choice … one doctor has the opinion, the next his own. I mostly work with the latest information from the Robert Koch Institute and keep myself informed as much as possible. But even if I can understand the people who are afraid, it is incomprehensible to me that someone steals disinfectant or runs hysterically to the emergency room without any symptoms. This ties up time and resources that we urgently need elsewhere. I need about 30 minutes per smear with all the administrative trimmings. That is a very long time in nursing.

Does anyone want to meet you privately at the moment?

(laughs) So it goes, but nobody wants to admit it openly. To be honest, I'm not that much on the road at the moment. Everyday life in the emergency room is pretty busy right now.

If Jens Spahn appeared to you tomorrow as a fairy godmother and you had three wishes, which would they be?

First, that he takes off the fairy costume …

No, joking aside …

I would like proper protective clothing for nurses and doctors. In addition, medical students who at least take over the phones on the ward because they are constantly ringing. And thirdly, I would like him to finally face the fact that we generally have a problem, that it now simply shows more clearly than usual. For years we have been talking about being overwhelmed. Now we are beyond. The crisis should also be recognized as an opportunity to position ourselves better overall.