First year nurse talks COVID, volunteer program for mental health

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Volunteers of America recently launched an online, confidential program for those seeking to alleviate the emotional struggle the pandemic has created for them.

Though open to the public, ReST was initiated to care for healthcare workers dealing with the horrors of COVID-19 on a daily basis.

Casey Rieschl didn’t expect nursing to be easy. But she also didn’t expect a global pandemic during her first year on the job.

“Some nights, when I was driving home from work after 16 hours, [increasing COVID deaths] would all hit me at once and I would break down and cry on my way home,” she said. “I work with a lot of the elderly population, so it’s kind of that time to determine how invasive they want to be and when they want to take the next steps.and those conversations are very hard to have.”

VOA said workers like Rieschl can feel confused, frustrated, sad, worried, angry, or defeated.

“Painful moral feelings can be set aside at work, but when they are continually suppressed, empathy and self-confidence are diminished and moral resilience is compromised,” said Rita Nakashima Brock of VOA. “[ReST is] for people who need to process the negative feelings and terrible things that happened to them.”

Rieschl champions the program saying it has made her more resiliant.

“All those other nurses out there I just want to give them the recognition that they deserve as well,” she said. “And you know, thank them for sticking them out.”

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