Brooke Scott, an intensive care unit nurse at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Hillcrest, has a 13-month-old daughter whose life coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was born a week before the toilet paper went missing,” she said, referring to the run on household products in March 2020.
Scott returned from maternity leave right before the first wave of COVID-19 patients hit local hospitals.
“At first there were not many COVID patients, then it spiked for quite a while, and now we’re on a downward trend,” she said.
Scott, 26, took care of her elderly grandfather when she was young and that sparked her desire to become a professional caregiver.
She graduated in 2012 from Midway High School, where she played on the softball team and was a member of the Goal Tenders dance team. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2016. She returned to Waco after graduation to start a family with her husband, who is a police officer in Hewitt.
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Scott enjoys the challenge of ICU nursing.
“I like taking care of the sickest patients,” she said. “By caring for two patients, I can focus on everything going on with the patient and be more involved with the family.”
Scott said caring for COVID-19 patients requires more aggressive treatment than typical ICU patients, including proning patients while on a ventilator. The emotional aspect has also been more intense.
“The families couldn’t be there (because of visitor restrictions) and many were by themselves at the end of their lives,” she said. “We are starting to open that (visitor policy) up again and it’s good to have the families back in the hospital. Caring for COVID patients is a very humbling experience. You experience a lot of grief and sadness and then I get to come home to my family. It has reminded me I have a lot to be grateful for and that nothing is guaranteed.”
Scott will finish her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington in May, with the goal of becoming a family medicine nurse practitioner later this year. She said the more predictable work hours are more amenable to raising a family. But she also likes the idea of taking care of patients upstream before they land in the hospital.
“By the time the patient gets to the ICU, there is not a lot to do to get them completely better,” she said. “As a nurse practitioner, you can educate patients on health prevention to keep them out of the hospital in hopes to give them a better quality of life.”