TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Supplies are dwindling and cases are climbing, but the healthcare workers on the front lines in the Big Bend area aren't letting down their guards.
Kathleen Wilson has seen a lot in her time as a nurse practitioner, but she says the battle with COVID-19 has been tough on healthcare workers.
"There's a lot of high anxiety," said Wilson. "Not only for our patients, but also for our healthcare providers."
Kathleen Wilson has been a nurse practitioner for 38 years.
Most, if not all, of her patients have chronic illnesses. Hers are the most vulnerable to a virus like COVID-19.
"My job is to keep them out of the hospital, to keep them home keep them safe," WIlson said.
Wilson has been using telemedicine as a way to check on her patients, making sure they're practicing safe social distancing, and listening to any medical concerns they may have.
She says her colleagues who work in the hospitals have it a little harder.
"Coming home, and how they have to strip their clothes," said Wilson. "How they have to bag them up, and come home and wash them in hot water before they can even contact their family members."
Wilson says the hardest part for her is giving the proper care to patients dealing with anxiety.
"There are a lot of patients that are highly anxious about whats happening," she said. "They're having anxiety and they're isolated."
This is why she and other nurse practitioners are calling on Governor DeSantis to suspend or waive practice agreement requirements.
Doing so would let them see patients without the presence of a doctor. She says it would be especially beneficial to mental health practitioners, to help in the fight.
Her word to those on the front lines with her?
"You may be in the hospital, you may be in an office taking care of those through telemedicine for continuity of care," said Wilson. "But my message to you all is how much I appreciate you as my colleagues taking care of our community and trying to keep our community safe."
Wilson says healthcare workers everywhere are doing their best to flatten the curve.
She says we can all help them by staying home, until this is over.