Inside an Oregon Hospital, Here's What it Takes to Provide Care Through the Chaos

nurse using a digital notepad
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Nurse Heather Gatchet's shift in the emergency department at Salem Health's Salem Hospital typically starts at 6:00 a.m. Before that, she packs her daughter's lunch, drinks tea, and starts driving to work. To stave off her rising sense of panic, she calls her mom on the way.

"My mom's like my cup of coffee" Gatchet says, her voice breaking, "to mentally psych myself up for what I'm walking into."

Gatchet's mother reminds her that she's good at what she does, and that she's loved. She tells her "You got this, you've been doing this a long time."

When she arrives at work, Gatchet heads to the break room. Seeing her colleagues assemble for the day — the nurses in blue scrubs, the medical techs in teal — dispels any last bits of panic or dread: "This is my team, and it feels safe again."

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