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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

B-N Nurse Scared But Fighting For Her Patients Amid Coronavirus

Kyana and Bridgetta
Tiffani Jackson
Black Nurse Association of Central Illinois Vice President Kyana Wilkinson, left, and Treasurer Vergetta Harris during a WGLT interview last fall.

Kyana Wilkinson says it’s a scary time to be a nurse.

Wilkinson is a float nurse at a Bloomington-Normal hospital. She’s also vice president of the Black Nurses Association of Central Illinois. WGLT spoke to Wilkinson on Thursday about what it’s like to be a nurse during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s scary. I am scared to go to work. I’m scared to do something I have worked so hard to become, which is a nurse. I try not to let the fear get in the way,” she said.

McLean County has seen 31 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Six of those people remain hospitalized, with one in intensive care. Two people have died.

Wilkinson said she’s cared for someone suspected to have COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there. And that (adds) to the fear and the anxiety and it just snowballs. As a nurse, I feel like it’s our job to educate, and try to calm, and just take care of our patients,” she said.

Many doctors, nurses and other hospital workers say they don't feel protected and are afraid in the midst of a shortage of masks and other protective gear.

Wilkinson said during her shifts she’s had the personal protective equipment (PPE) she’s needed.

“And I’m very grateful. And I hope that continues to happen. It helps to ease my worry, knowing I have what I need to take care of the patients,” she said.

Like so many essential workers, nurses are being held in even higher esteem during this pandemic. They’re being called heroes.

Wilkinson accepts that title—to an extent.

“If it helps, yes, we are heroes. But I want us to just (keep) our heads down and work and know we’re there to be of service to people,” she said. “I guess that’s what a hero is.”

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Tiffani Jackson is a reporting intern at WGLT and a student at Illinois State University's School of Communication. She started working at WGLT in summer 2019.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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