Utah nurse: 'It's what fills my cup,' working extra shifts, uniting staff during COVID-19

Audra Post collects Sub for Santa gifts and unites fellow staff in the emergency department at Heber Valley Hospital in a common goal. (Heather Simonsen, KSL-TV)


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HEBER — As the pandemic rages on, frontline health care workers have braved new obstacles. A nurse at a rural Utah hospital has gone above and beyond to motivate and uplift her coworkers.

The day starts early for Audra Post. She has missed numerous dinners with her family and will likely miss more because she has taken on extra shifts as a nurse in the emergency department at Heber Valley Hospital.

"We could have just ... sore throats come through, or we could have somebody that's actively coding that's gone down right in front of our doors," said Post, a registered nurse with Intermountain Healthcare.

It's been nearly two long years now for front-line workers like her. Early on, the emotional toll was great as she comforted patients who faced dying alone.

"I was the last conversation some of those individuals had, and that's a big responsibility," Post said. "It's providing just the last bit of hope."

Now, burnout is at an all-time high as they face new challenges in a time of COVID-19.

"For a while we were heroes," Post said. "All of a sudden, we're to blame, versus that we're there to help, that we're there to care for them."

Post has done all she can as an employee engagement leader.

"For Audra, the cup is always half-full," said Jill Teuscher, a nurse administrator at Heber Valley Hospital.

"And that is really important because she's a great listener, but she can see the positive, she can see the silver lining. And she can have a way of just lifting a fellow caregiver to say, 'We can do this together.'"

Last Friday, Post collected Sub for Santa donations from co-workers and the community, a group effort that rallied the troops. It united the staff in a common goal, to provide Christmas for other families.

"I do this because it's what completes me," Post said. "It's what fills my cup."

Post hopes she has taught her family by being an example of what matters.

"I want to teach them to serve and to love, and to take every opportunity that they have to make life better for someone else," she said.

Efforts her managers say that lead to better patient care and greater compassion.

"It's truly what this time of year is about," Post said.

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Heather Simonsen

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