JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Twenty-one year old Precious Jones has always wanted to be a nurse.
“I’ve been wanting to be a nurse since I was like a little girl, I’d say probably like 10. Because my mom was in medicine and my dad worked for the state, so everything around that was basically medical,” she said. “It was either be a nurse or be a doctor.”
While numbers on nursing school enrollment and whether there’s been an impact on the number of nurses in the state weren’t immediately available, it could seem frightening to some to think about going into the medical profession during a time like this. Coronavirus patients, they say, are very tough to provide care for.
“Treating COVID patients, I’ve never done it, I’m not qualified to do it, but listening to those who have it’s an extremely challenging and exhausting process,” said Gov. Tate Reeves in his daily press conference on Thursday.
Jones says she’s heard that. But she still sees a future in nursing.
“Because I’d like to change what’s going on in the world. Even though people are quitting their jobs at the hospital because of corona, it’s good to make a difference,” she said.
Dr. Paul Byers, the state epidemiologist, says while Mississippi has always needed more medical personnel, this has expanded the possibilities for people like Jones if they have the fortitude.
“You know hospitals are developing additional capacity in the way ventilators and ICU rooms, but you know there’s always staffing issues,” he said. “You’ve got to get the right staffing and the right expertise, and it does take an intensive effort to treat and manage COVID-19.”
In the meantime, Jones says she still has about a year left of working to put herself nursing school.
“It’s hard. It’s hard but you have to remain focused,” she said. “If you see your future, you have to go for it.”