'That's just what nurses do': COVID-19 through the eyes of nurse Carole Dixon

·2 min read

Carole Dixon isn't certain exactly how long the couple had been together but she knows it was a "very, very long time."

He lived at Colville Manor in Souris and she, his wife, was very sick in the hospital.

"He wasn't allowed to see her and she actually died," said Dixon, a registered nurse at the long term care home.

"It really made us realize, this is serious stuff."

It's been almost a year now since the very first cluster of COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

"I just thought, well, it's probably like a flu bug and, you know, we'll get medication for it and that will be the end of that," said Dixon. "But that turned out to be very different."

Becoming family

The province entered its first lockdown in March, and like everyone else Dixon had concerns about the future.

"I remember I was stocking up on soup in case the grocery stores shut down," laughed Dixon. "I got a whole cupboard full of it."

We can't look after other people if we don't look after ourselves. — Carole Dixon, nurse

But unlike many her work continued, as a nurse at Colville Manor.

"My roles and responsibilities didn't change, but life changed for those that we looked after," said Dixon.

"Their families couldn't come to visit. So the wonderful staff at work became their families even more so."

That wasn't an alien concept for Dixon and her staff. Several of the people she cares for don't have any family so the team is used to filling that role.

"The only thing that we did differently was we had to wear a mask and be a little more conscientious of our hand hygiene and our own wellbeing."

'Just what I do'

Dixon said she was concerned, at one point, that dementia patients might be fearful of her in a mask.

But, for one reason or another, they never were.

Submitted by Carole Dixon
Submitted by Carole Dixon

Beyond that, Dixon said it was business as usual, at least as usual as it can be when you work in the medical profession during a global pandemic.

"I never think about that, about how I do it, that's just what I do," she said.

"That's just what nurses do."

Lesson learned

Dixon graduated from nursing school in 1972. She has spent nearly half a century dedicated to helping people, but even with all that experience she said she's learned a thing or two over the past several months.

"I think it's made us more aware of how important we are to each other," she said.

"We can't look after other people if we don't look after ourselves."

And when asked if she still would have become a nurse if given the power of hindsight all those years ago, Dixon doesn't hesitate.

"Absolutely," she said. "Without a second thought."

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