“We have deemed this as a medical war. We are soldiers willing to serve, but we don’t have the armor.” Petergay Dunkley-Mullins
On Thrive. Connect. Contribute, we have been talking about resilience. I cannot imagine anyone who models resilience more than hospice nurses. That is a job that requires a mental toughness that I’m not sure I possess. That is in normal times. And, these are certainly not normal times, are they?
As COVID-19 cases surge medical facilities are strained. Hospice workers find themselves struggling to provide end-of-life services. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of personal protective equipment or PPE.
Petergay Dunkley-Mullins has spent a lifetime overcoming obstacles. She first came to my attention through her book, Can’t Afford to Fail. Petergay is the Director of Operations for a hospice company in Atlanta. When it comes to her patients, she doesn’t mince words. “I am disappointed with the attention hospice patients have gotten in this COVID-19 Crisis. I believe our most vulnerable Americans are being abandoned.
“We do not have sufficient personal protective equipment to care for our patients. We do not have enough gowns. We do not have enough hand sanitizer. We do not have enough N-95 masks. I’m begging every day.”
Petergay explains the unique role of hospice nurses. “We are voices for them. We are their advocates. We are their families. We are the ones who want to sit there by their bedsides, hold their hands, talk to them, and let them know that everything is going to be OK.
“We want to sit there and do a video call and say ‘Look, here’s your granddaughter. Here’s your grandson. Your kids love you so much.’ But we cannot do that because we don’t have the proper equipment.
“We have deemed this as a medical war. We are soldiers willing to serve, but we don’t have the armor.”
On today’s episode, she tells her story, starting as a homeless teenage mother in Jamaica. She lost her son to a viral illness, but she refused to give up on herself.
She met and married an American who promised her a better life. Unfortunately, her new husband was abusive.
She escaped to Florida and connected with her extended family. Starting at age 20, she completed her high school education. She went on to complete nursing school, and eventually became a Registered Nurse.
Throughout her story, Petergay reminds us what it means to be resilient.