A Brighter Tomorrow: Columbia nurse self-discovers new ways to stay positive

1 week 3 days 7 hours ago Saturday, September 12 2020 Sep 12, 2020 Saturday, September 12, 2020 3:58:00 PM CDT September 12, 2020 in News
By: Matt McCabe, KOMU 8 Reporter
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BOONVILLE – An MU Health nurse has found new ways to enjoy life during the past six months.

Julie Brown, who works in surgery services, says when the pandemic first began it was overwhelming.

"I've never had anxiety in my life but it was everybody," Brown said. "It was just a palpable feeling that everybody had anxiety."

As the scientific understanding of the virus grew, so did Brown's efforts to keep morale high.

"We try to stay positive," she said. "We listen to a lot of music where I work. We listen to classic rock. We have sing-alongs to some of our favorite songs."

Brown added she keeps her co-workers on their toes by throwing out rapid-fire trivia questions.

"I will give them questions like, 'Quick, what's your favorite Rolling Stone song?'" she said. "Or, 'Quick, what's the best lead into a rock and roll song?'" 

The tricks are all Brown's way of fighting COVID-19 on a different front: mental health.

"Especially with social isolation, it is kind of depressing to sit here in your house," she said. "And you know, not see your grandchild or your, my, kids."

She says talking with her colleagues has been a beneficial way to express her feelings. She underscored her hospital's administration is very supportive.

Even then, it is difficult to replace in-person time with loved ones.

Her own children are all adults, but because of the virus, she was unable to go home for her grandchild's first birthday.

"We all wear masks, we all socially isolate when we come home," she said. "We don't see our families. We want to keep our patients safe and we want to keep ourselves safe. But that's kind of what we do."

Brown says she just tries to look at life as a glass half full.

"It's really, really hard," she said. "And every day you have to work hard at it; especially when you're by yourself or you have a hard job, or it's overwhelming. This whole pandemic is very overwhelming."

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