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39 years as RN at Warren General

Christine Sonney

Chris Sonney has seen a lot in 39 years as a registered nurse at Warren General Hospital.

People come and go.

The technology changes.

And, once in a while, there is a new medical concern — perhaps a novel coronavirus.

Her mother’s enjoyment of the field — she spent 30 years as a nurse — led Sonney to her career.

Her passion led her to the medical-surgical unit.

“One thing that people don’t know about nursing is how challenging it is,” she said.

“There are so many areas that a person can work in that you can be involved in.”

“It makes nursing a wide open field for a lot of different interests,” Sonney said.

Med/surg was right for her and was where she felt best suited to help.

Now, she is using her expertise to help others in her field. Sonney is a nurse manager at Warren General in the respiratory therapy department.

“You try to share your experiences with the other people that you work with,” she said.

But her job is still about working with and helping people.

“I enjoy working with people — patients and my staff,” Sonney said. “That’s where I draw the greatest part of my satisfaction, working with others.”

The changes brought on by COVID-19 are new and different, but they’re just another part of the job. People like Sonney have been through changes before and they are in a position to help people face new challenges.

“It’s a more challenging time to be a nurse,” Sonney said. “He have more heightened awareness. We are wearing more equipment – masks all the time.”

Nurses are more conscious than ever of something as simple and common-place as hand-washing.

Novel coronaviruses are not the first agents of change.

“There have been a lot of changes in nursing over the years, especially technology,” Sonney said. “All of our documentation is computerized. We have a lot of equipment that is all computerized.”

“All of it is very beneficial,” she said. “It’s simplified, in many ways, our processes here.”

“We adjust and grow with changes,” Sonney said.

It’s possible the changes that grew out of the coronavirus may last long after the pandemic is over and end up on the plus side of the ledger.

The coronavirus changes have been passed on to Warren General, but the underlying cause has, thankfully, stayed away.

“We have to abide by the same rules, but we don’t have the same challenges that they do in larger cities,” she said.

“We hear about what’s happening in these larger hospitals in areas that have large numbers of cases. You have a lot of compassion for those health care professionals that have taken care of people in those settings.”

COVID-19 won’t be the last health concern. There will always be a need for people ready to serve on the front line and to take on illness and injury, disease and disaster.

It starts with wanting to help.

“I would encourage people to be involved with nursing if they like working with people and want to work in health,” she said.

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