June 11, 2020

Acute care nurse moved by acts of kindness during pandemic

Alumna Laura Ashburn BN'03 reflects on her hopes and fears as a nurse and mother during the pandemic
Laura Ashburn, UCalgary Nursing alumna

Laura Ashburn, Calgary RN

"Stay well informed, be cautious but not fearful. This is how I have approached the pandemic since it first became a world-wide crisis. As Alberta RNs, it is important now more than ever that we utilize valid and evidence-based resources to drive the care that we provide to patients and their families and to help stop the spread of the virus.

I have always felt so proud to be a RN, so honoured and privileged to provide care to my patients and their families in what is usually the worst time in their lives, and at times, their end of life. I take this role very seriously.

I work within a multidisciplinary team, and none of us can perform our jobs without the other, but I strongly believe that registered nurses are the leaders and the glue that holds the team together.

I continue to provide the high standard of care that I strive for with all of my patients. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very much complicated by the restrictions, however needed, that have been put into place. Visitor restrictions for our palliative patients has been particularly challenging; along with the fear that runs through my mind at times: 'What if I get sick? What if my family gets sick? What if a colleague gets sick?'

Living through the crisis of this pandemic is unprecedented for most of us. It evokes a host of feelings that are all very valid: fear, grief, worry, helplessness, exhaustion and stress. I have had many friends and family reach out to me, asking what they can do to help. The best thing is for all of us to stay home, utilize excellent hand and respiratory hygiene, and support your family, friends and neighbours in a safe way. I have been touched by the acts of kindness and generosity exhibited during this time, and I truly hope that this crisis will bring us all closer together."

"And the world came together as the people stayed apart." -Jennifer Wagner

Laura Ashburn has been an acute care nurse in Calgary for 17 years, specializing in internal medicine at Foothills Hospital. She also volunteers with the UCalgary Nursing Faculty Alumni Committee, the NurseMentor program and the Nightingale Challenge planning committee. Ashburn is also a mother to two daughters and the founder of The Kindness Project YYC, which promotes acts of kindness and humanity.