BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The U.S. hit an unthinkable milestone May 18, 2022 — one million COVID-19 deaths. The past two years were challenging for everyone, impacting healthcare workers the most.

Chief Nurse Officer for Beckley ARH Angela Rivera said the hospital staff is overworked and now, more than ever, it’s important to provide resources for mental and physical health.

“Nurses and healthcare workers in general are tired, our mental health is tired, so we really have to lean on each other as a team and make sure we are getting our rest, and we have someone to talk to and we have somewhere to call if we need help. So, it is really just checking on each other every day, every shift to make sure we are getting what we need mentally and physically.”

Chief Nurse Officer for Beckley ARH Angela Rivera

As Chief Nurse Officer, it’s Rivera’s job to advocate for her nurses and get those resources. She said people across the healthcare field are experiencing burnout, raising concerns for an industry already impacted by hiring shortages.

“There is doubt that they want to do this, there is no doubt in their passion, and the doubt is can I do this. Wearing a mask for 12 hours, the N-95s especially, that is tough, we are hot, we are sweaty, we are working hard so its not our passion, its just, can we physically do that?”

Chief Nurse Officer for Beckley ARH Angela Rivera

Despite nursing shortages impacting nearly every hospital in the country, Rivera said ARH works to give their employees time off and the resources they need to foster a passion for helping people. As cases continue to rise and healthcare workers anticipate another spike of COVID-19 cases in the summer, Rivera said the community needs to work together to combat COVID-19.

“We are all living the pandemic together, we just need to make sure we follow the rules, mask when we can, social distance when we can and just be there for each other and try to stay healthy mentally and physically.”

Chief Nurse Officer for Beckley ARH Angela Rivera