By Terry O’Connor, a nurse at Novant Health UVA, Prince William Hospital and Health Care Hope Ambassador 

— I was called for a time such as this.  This is what I signed up for.  I was willing to put on my armor and rush in, to care for my patients and pour myself out.  Then I witnessed the look of concern on the faces of my colleagues and friends.  They were concerned about our safety and the lack of knowledge about this disease.  Were we prepared?  Little did I realize what was required.  What I am experiencing is like going to war, examining the landscape before me, and devising a strategy to defeat it. 

My patients are human.  They needed to be touched and encouraged.  They needed to know that I was fighting for them and that we would win.  I have encouraged them and I have wept when lives were lost.  People I had laughed with the day before have slipped away on my days off.  I have been broken and thought about how much more their family members are suffering.  

It’s been difficult going to war every day.  I long for reconnaissance, but there’s none.  The Team is all we have and yet that’s great.  We need each other.  Everyone is praying for our strength, every day when we face this.  We are there for those who need us and for each other.  Most of all, God is with us. 

Terry O’Connor is a staff nurse at Novant Health UVA, Prince William Hospital.  She is also a Health Care Hope Ambassador for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

— Hope Heroes is a series featuring members of VICPP’s Health Care Hope Ambassador Network sharing, in their own words, their experiences working on the COVID-19 front lines.