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Nurses share experiences of working during the pandemic for National Nurses week

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Posted at 5:32 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 13:35:18-04

JENNINGS — A lot of people are still trying to rebound from the pandemic which put a strain on so many, especially those in the health care system. For nurses, that meant adjusting to stricter guidelines and the constant threat of exposure to the virus.

Danyell White and Dawn Ancelet are two nurses at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Jennings. Both women worked at the facility all through the pandemic and while they say their primary job is to be a caregiver, for the past year they played many different roles for their patients.

"Because families were not able to come in, we had to be family to these veterans," says White, the Director of Nurses at the facility. "We played many roles. Whatever role that veteran needs at that time is the role we played, whether that be a friend or a counselor."

White says that she began the pandemic as the Assistant Director of Nurses, but stepped into the role of Director during the pandemic. During such a difficult time, White wanted to make sure that her patients felt cared for and loved.

"It made me want to get into this role to make sure that they didn't get anything less than the best care that we can give them."

Dawn Ancelet is now the Assistant Director of Nurses at the veterans home. She says that she decided to pursue a career in nursing after her grandfather became sick.

"I saw the care that the nurses gave him and my grandmother, and I knew that it was something that I could do and it was something that I wanted to do," she says.

Ancelet says that being a nurse is not a walk in and park, and it is not for everyone. She believes the biggest challenge she faces in this is becoming burned out and exhausted, but she continues to remind herself why she chose this career path in the first place.

"If your heart is in it, then you're not going to give up," she says. "If your heart is in it then you're going to give the best care that you possibly can."

Both White and Ancelet can agree that the most rewarding part of their job as a nurse at the veterans home, is providing care for those who sacrificed so much for our country.

"They were our heroes," says White. "It's a blessing for us to be able to be their heroes now."

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