Nfld. & Labrador

Stephenville nurse says heartfelt support is great, but compliance is better

"If we get sick, there's no one to care for your loved ones."

Follow the advice and rules, RN says in widely shared social media post

Stephenville nurse Rachel Valenti made an emotional plea on social media last week for people to follow advice on COVID-19. (Rachel Valenti/Facebook)

A young registered nurse in western Newfoundland has made a powerful plea on social media for the people near her to not become her patients, or to cause illness among professionals dealing with a worsening pandemic. 

"If we get sick there's no one to care for your loved ones," Rachel Valenti, who works in Stephenville, told CBC News. 

"If I get sick, that's one less nurse in the hospital who can care for your mom or your dad or your brother or our sister, your grandfather."

Valenti, who graduated from nursing school just last year, shared her thoughts in a recent Facebook post that has been widely shared. In it, she admits she is anxious and afraid of what may happen with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While dealing with her feelings, Valenti says she loves her job and is fully committed to caring for her patients.

"I didn't go to nursing school to go, 'Yep, I'm going to fight a virus in 2020,'" she said. 

"I'm prepared to do that and prepared to do anything for my patients but you don't think about those big things when you're becoming a nurse or a dietitian or LPN, whoever. You don't prepare for those things mentally until they actually happen."

Following short stints after graduation in Corner Brook and Gander, the Glenwood native landed a job at the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville in November. 

'I don't look like I'm anxious'

She wrote that while the support that nurses and their colleagues receive is appreciated, what is needed more is for people to following the guidelines set out by government and health professionals.

"A lot of people see me, I look so happy, I look ready to go to work, I don't look like I'm anxious, even though I am kind of feeling anxious and a little bit scared to go to work — you never know what's going to happen, what you're going to face at work," she said.

"We are really prepared but you still have those fears."

Valenti is one of the registered nurses working at Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville. (Town of Stephenville)

Valenti said she can tear up while reading heartfelt tributes on Facebook, and appreciates the concern. 

What's needed, she said, is compliance with stay-at-home requests and rules about physical distancing. 

"What we truly require and want we really want is for everybody to follow the guidelines because, at the end of the day, if that's not happening, we're not going to be able to do our job," she said.

"We're going to get sick as well."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Troy Turner


Troy Turner is a veteran journalist who has worked throughout Newfoundland and Labrador in both print and broadcast. Based in Corner Brook, he is a reporter with CBC Newfoundland Morning.

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