April 8, 2020

'As nurses, we take care of and help people we have never met before'

Nursing instructor Breanne Krut talks about the experience of moving to online learning and delivering palliative care during a pandemic

“This has been a difficult transition for all of us globally. As a nursing instructor when classes at the University of Calgary moved online, we had a difficult time adjusting to the loss of that shared connection weekly.

I have found the curiosity and sense of community that my students continue to demonstrate, inspiring. I was disappointed our clinical time had been cut short, but I am so impressed with the resiliency of the students and their ability to make both myself and each other laugh over our weekly Zoom chats. We have stayed connected in a time when we need it the most.

Breanne Krut with UCalgary Nursing clinical group.

Breanne Krut with her UCalgary Nursing clinical group of students on Zoom.

I am also so thankful to be able to work in the hospital during this pandemic. For the past five years, I have worked at Foothills Medical Centre, Intensive Palliative Care. The staff there are brilliant, compassionate, and incredibly engaging to work with. As a casual RN there, I am lucky to work with such a fantastic team and maintain that piece of my nursing practice that is so important to me.

As a palliative care nurse, hugs and tears are commonplace, and social distancing is hard for all of us. It is challenging being unable to hug our patients and families as they navigate deeply heartbreaking losses.

Limiting visitation has erupted in more tears and broken hearts than we can comprehend. As we navigate this uncharted territory, I am comforted to know that despite the fear, uncertainty, and frustration we feel with rapidly changing rules and guidelines, there is a lot of love, support, and hope through it all. In times like this, it highlights the strength and dedication of all the nurses and health-care providers who are caring for your families while worrying about their own.

Breanne Krut is a palliative care nurse and instructor at UCalgary Nursing.

Breanne Krut is a palliative care nurse and instructor at UCalgary Nursing.

I am so proud and honoured to work alongside such wonderful colleagues at the University of Calgary and Unit 47 at Foothills Medical Centre.

I am inspired by the nursing students that I have the privilege of teaching, they in turn teach me something new every day. We will get through this together, with a lot of hard work, tears, and eventually when we finally can…hugs, so so many hugs.

My six-year-old nephew asked the other day, “Who is auntie helping?” I thought about it, and I also thought how profound the answer really is.

As nurses we take care of and help people we have never met before. So as everyone follows the guidelines to stay home, we thank you, because it will save lives. Yet, when you need us, we will be ready to help, putting ourselves at risk, even though it may be the first time that we meet you."

Breanne Krut has been a registered nurse for nine years. She is also a full-time nursing instructor at UCalgary's Faculty of Nursing.

UCalgary resources on COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of COVID-19, visit the UCalgary COVID-19 Response website.