Nurses Week: Lana Mueller with Aspirus discusses the struggles of being a nurse during pandemic

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IRONWOOD, Mich. (WJMN) – In honor of Nurses Week, we are continuing on with telling the stories of nurses in the U.P.

Lana Mueller is a Wisconsin-native working at Aspirus Ironwood. She has been a nurse for eight years and counting. She works in the Medical-Surgical department, and also in the emergency room and intensive care unit.

In a time that is uncertain, Mueller said many of her days are stressful and sometimes scary.

“You know every day, I’m thinking ‘Is this the day I’m going to bring it home? Did I do enough to protect myself? What could I have done differently?’ My husband is also a nurse, so it’s this double worry, and we have little kids at home. I haven’t hugged my parents in over a month, and I hate this. I miss it. I miss them. I’m just really worried what healthcare, in general, is going to look like after this whole thing because we’re doing things very differently now.”

A challenge Mueller is facing right now is not being able to have that connection with patients.

“That personal interaction is kind of gone now. I mean there are people who are hard of hearing, there are people who are deaf, and my mouth is covered. They can’t see me smile, they can’t see me talk, they can’t hear me. It’s very impersonal for me I think it is the best way to put it.”

Although working in the medical field comes with those challenges, Mueller has enjoyed her journey to becoming a nurse.

“It’s been super fun. I kind of made it what I wanted it to be. Because like I said, I thought I wanted to be a teacher…well, I’m a nurse. I am a teacher. I get to train and mentor new nurses. I help families and patients learn about discharge instructions or their disease or illness process. I get to be a student. I get to do all my certifications. If I want, I can go back to school. I just don’t think a lot of professions allow you to do that.”

As for Mueller’s future, she hopes to see herself working in critical care one day again.

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