'It is emotionally taxing sometimes': Local nurses reflect on the healthcare industry two years into COVID

Posted at 7:05 AM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 09:01:48-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As a little girl, Megan Marks remembers sitting at her Grandma’s doctor's appointments, wide-eyed and in awe of the superhero who was helping her.

“[My grandma] was the one who could always calm me down, and ease any of my fears,” Marks said, remembering her childhood. “Then I saw the nurse do that exact same thing for my grandma.”

It’s OK though, right? A 9-year-old girl usually has time to figure a career out.

Then again, a young girl’s choice of toy is more often than not Barbie or maybe play makeup.

For Marks though? Her choice was a bit different.

“I took around my little baby medical kit with my stethoscope and would give 'shots' to my family,” she said, while laughing at the memory.

That young girl grew up and got her nursing degree from Texas A&M University.

“Being that person, for anyone, and everyone is exactly what I felt like I was called to do with my life,” she said, on a more serious note.

She’s green in the industry.

Joining alongside healthcare professionals just a year and a half ago.

While challenges fueled by COIVD-19 presented themselves during that time, many new nurses also took the step.

“It’s a feeling of peace,” Marks said.

In fact, some might even credit the pandemic as their reason why to join the industry.

According to a report released by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses, nursing programs saw a 5.6 percent increase in enrollment in 2021.

“If you care about people, and if you care about people and you love helping people, there's no better profession than nursing,” said Dr. Amy Mersiovsky, director of nursing at Texas A&M Central Texas.

However, that doesn’t mean burnout doesn’t exist.

“Many people, their hearts have just been broken by seeing the death and disability from COVID,” Mersiovsky said. “They've just felt they have to go do something else.”

The International Council of Nurses reports the U.S. will be down 13 million nurses by 2030 if the rate of decline continues how it is.

“It is emotionally taxing sometimes to take on those patients and then take on those problems for 12 hours,” Marks admitted.

However, Marks said the thought of leaving the industry never crosses her mind.

“No matter how hard it is to take care of them and to be there for them,” she said. “That's going to teach them something that I can learn to be a better nurse.”

Now, years later, her grandmother, the same one from the doctor’s office, calls on her to be her own superhero, all of these years later.

“Being a resource like that for them is everything that I've been doing to be whenever I was young, is somebody that they look to and are proud of,” she said with a smile.

Marks also credits her team at BSW in College Station for keeping her sane.

She said no matter what she goes through, they’re always there, with a shoulder to lean on and an ear to borrow.