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'Emotionally and physically draining': Central Georgia health-care workers face pandemic burnout

Two Central Georgia nurses who have been on the frontline since the beginning of the pandemic say it's taken a toll

MACON, Ga. — Nurses wear the uniform but go beyond their call of duty.

Crystal Ayer, a nurse practitioner at Piedmont Macon Medical Center, compares what she sees daily to a horror movie.

 "We go through a lot as frontline workers. I've held people's hands as they died alone in a hospital bed while their family was on a video call," Ayers said.

 After more than a year's worth of similar stories, she's one of many frontline health-care workers feeling burnt out going in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 "It's just hard. It's emotionally and physically draining for 12 straight hours," she said. 

 Megan Rigsby says she normally works 36 hours a week. But lately has been working more.

 "We're stretched pretty thin. I mean, the acuity level of our patients are so high right now, they require so much care that even when you have a decent number of nurses, just the amount of care that you have to do in each room takes up so much of your time," Rigsby said. 

 Both women say it's mental, physical, and emotional stress, but they keep going.

 Now that the cheering has stopped, Ayers says there's something you can do to support them.

 "One thing that you could do to support us would be get vaccinated so you don't have to be on life support and hang out with us," Ayers said.

Both women recounted numerous stories, but said the thing that keeps them going is the family they find in their coworkers.

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