Elizabeth Haus was in high school when she realized she wanted to work in the medical field. Now, after spending four years on the North Carolina women's lacrosse team from 2015 to 2018, she's a registered nurse stemming the tide of COVID-19 at Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver.
During her time in Chapel Hill, Haus was named to the ACC Honor Roll multiple times and played six games in a 2016 season that culminated in a national title. At one point, she was unsure if she could balance lacrosse and pursuing a nursing degree — an academic adviser had to talk her into it. Two years after graduation, though, she's working 12-hour shifts in a pediatric intensive care unit.
“I think nursing school prepared me for the pandemic in that it’s a possibility, and it’s only a matter of time until another one happens," Haus said. "You just don’t think that it actually will.”
Much of the learning has come on the fly, with occasional briefings on developments and discoveries relating to the virus. The hospital provides a daily COVID-19 update with policy changes and an estimate on the number of cases in the area. Then, of course, there are the extra safety precautions.
When Haus' shift starts, at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., she gets her temperature taken, fills out a survey of possible symptoms and gets her face mask for the day. Then she goes to her unit, grabs her personal face shield from the storage room and goes about her work. If a patient has or is suspected of having COVID-19, she has to wear a protective gown and another type of mask around them. Then she has to bring her clothes home in a bag, wash them immediately and do it all again the next day. Nothing to it, right?