Fairbanks nurses discuss experiences before and during coronavirus pandemic

Lori Gibertoni (Left) and Sabine Todd (Right) discuss what work (and life) is like during the...
Lori Gibertoni (Left) and Sabine Todd (Right) discuss what work (and life) is like during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ramzi Abou Ghalioum/KTVF)(KTVF)
Published: May. 20, 2020 at 6:08 PM AKDT
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Nurses are often at a doctor’s right hand, ready to assist in both medical and nonmedical issues a patient may be experiencing. So how are Fairbanks’ nurses faring during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Lori Gibertoni, a nurse with FMH nurse of 39 years. Gibertoni was in charge of sourcing protective material for the hospital.

“Our community has been outstanding,” Gibertoni goes on. She says that the hospital was running out of masks. “Now we have more than 12,000 masks that the community has made,” she says.

She says that additionally, nurses have become a patient’s sole source of comfort due to COVID-19 related restrictions forbids most patients from having visitors. “That’s always been a part of a nurse’s job,” Gibertoni says, “but knowing that those patients also had family members and other loved ones that could provide that as well; but now it’s just us.”

Sabine Todd, on the other hand, graduated from Nursing school in May of 2019.

“And then I took the NCLEX which is the nursing licensure exam at the beginning of July of last year,” Todd recalls. “And then I started with the hospital at the end of July of 2019.”

For her, dealing with COVID meant being comfortable with change.

“Every day there’s a change and we adapt to that change and if there’s a new change the next day then we adapt to that one,” she says.

Although school was difficult, she says, she adds that it is difficult to compare nursing school to real life experience.

“One of my most proudest moments after becoming a mom is finishing nursing school,” she says, adding, “but I think also, too, you know, working during this COVID time is also a pretty proud moment too to say that I’ve helped in some piece of that.”

She says that her colleagues having her back also helped things run smoothly.

“We all show up for each other because we’re a team,” she says. “And it just makes me really proud that as a team we were able to get through this and help members of the community who really needed help during this time.”

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