Midlands nurse reflects on challenges of caring for patients with COVID-19

Bradley Quarles has been helping patients in Prisma Health's COVID-19 unit

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —Thousands of nurses across the state are on the front lines each day taking care of coronavirus patients that come into their care.

One nurse, Bradley Quarles, says it’s not uncommon to work twelve hour days in the new coronavirus unit at Prisma Health.

Having been a nurse for nearly two years, Quarles says it’s great to have so many medical professionals rise to the challenge each day, and show unyielding compassion when helping patients.

“Really, we are all hands on deck and we’re all rallying around each other,” Quarles said.

Quarles says in order to keep employees safe, Prisma requires everyone, regardless of what their job is, to wear a face-mask when entering the hospital.

He says nurses have to wear more protective equipment, like face-shields, gloves and N95 surgical masks when coming into the coronavirus yet.

Once patients with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis come to the hospital, Quarles says his team takes precautions to prevent a possible spread.

“They’re placed into a negative pressure room so no air could escape out of the room, so everyone’s protected in that regard. But the possible patients, we treat a lot of our possible patients like they could have it just to be on the safer side,” Quarles said.

Quarles is just one of hundreds of nurses currently on the front lines who have come through the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina.

“Their resilience, their courage, their compassion for patients and families is just inspiring and amazing and we’re just so proud of them,” said Jeannette Andrews, the Dean of the USC College of Nursing.

Quarles says community support and businesses helping to make personal protective equipment has meant the world to him, but he says his fellow medical personnel don’t save lives solely to get praise for it. Instead, they do it to make a difference for others.

“It’s not easy but we don’t get into this job because it is easy, but I’m completely honored to be serving with the other men and women on the front lines,” Quarles said.

To help with a growing need for personal protective equipment, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is collecting donations of items like N95 face-masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and face shields. For more information on how to donate, click here.

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