Skip to main content

Critical Care nurse: COVID-19 is straining us, and it’s preventable

Critical Care nurse: COVID-19 is straining us, and it’s preventable
Sunday, January 09, 2022

Critical Care nurse: COVID-19 is straining us, and it’s preventable

Critical Care nurses and staff are exhausted.

What if the next person who needs us is your mother?

Your child?


We’re almost two years into a deadly global pandemic. Patients battling COVID-19 fill Gundersen’s Critical Care Unit in La Crosse, where I work as a nurse for 12-hour shifts. Most of them are unvaccinated and can’t breathe without machines. ​​​​​​​

Every shift, we hook them up to ventilators, put in lines and start emergency dialysis.

Some survive.

Others don’t.

The virus that once preyed mostly on the elderly – the already vulnerable – has mutated. It’s killing younger, healthy people.

These are people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They are young parents who won’t see their kids graduate or marry. They weren’t able to spend one last holiday with their parents. They hadn’t given their dog one last long belly rub. They didn't get the chance to hug their spouse or say ‘I love you’ one last time.

It’s rare when we have vaccinated COVID patients in our unit.

Being unvaccinated isn’t a badge of honor. It’s dangerous.

We can help supply your body with oxygen when it can’t on its own so that your heart and lungs can rest to fight COVID-19. But we can’t do it if you aren’t vaccinated against the virus. We’re superheroes without superpowers.

We’re tired of watching people die. It’s the reason some are leaving healthcare.

There is no cure for COVID-19. Unvaccinated, infected patients slowly suffocate and beg for us to save them. It’s painful to watch.

We’re lucky there’s a vaccine. Get it. Please.

We are exhausted. Please help us end this. ​​​​​​​

Casey Vale joined Gundersen’s Critical Care Unit in 2017.

Grateful patient
Decorah man grateful for what he has despite losing finger

June 01, 2023

Kent Klocke works with his hands, so the contractor from Decorah is used to the occasional cuts and bruises. That’s why, when he cut his left ring finger one Tuesday
Movin’ & More with Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics

May 31, 2023

On Tuesday and Thursday, the Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics’ Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department is buzzing with activity as residents engage in the popular Movin’ & More program.  
Project SEARCH students celebrate graduation and new jobs

May 24, 2023

On May 25, seven interns graduated from a program called Project SEARCH – and all seven have job offers. In her six years as a Project SEARCH instructor, this is
Grateful patient
Man thankful for care team following life-altering accident

May 24, 2023

Neil “Moose” Kinder remembers grabbing his cellphone to answer his wife’s call shortly after colliding with three trees along a rural stretch of road near Merrillan, Wis.

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

Language Support:
Jump back to top