Poem reaches home

Today I dressed for battle to fight an enemy I can’t see.

Emma Cloney, a labour and delivery nurse at St. Boniface Hospital since 2014, shared her feelings as a front-line worker for the COVID-19 pandemic through a poem she wrote and shared on social media.

Cloney merged her passions for music and nursing to write a poem that reaches people on a human level to help them understand the humanity of a nurse. Cloney is a longtime singer and guitarist in the Winnipeg indie folk duo The New Customs.

“I wrote this poem to convey my emotions and how I was feeling before coming into one of my shifts since the outbreak,” says Cloney. “There was so much emotion and fear — I felt compelled to write.”

While music is a big part of Cloney’s life, she has put it off to the side to dedicate her time to focus on nursing to help with the pandemic.

She says this poem is about taking ownership on how she feels going into work every day.

“As nurses, we are scared, but we are moving courageously through this,” says Cloney.

Since Cloney shared the poem to her personal Facebook page on April 2, it’s been shared more than 1,700 times and continues to receive hundreds of positive messages.

“The poem is a way to share what other nurses are thinking and feeling.”

Cloney’s day-to-day work schedule has changed drastically since the COVID-19 outbreak. She’s going into work much earlier to get through the screening line and stays late after work to take a full decontamination shower.

“Although the mental, physical, and emotional heaviness is exhausting, we aren’t going to abandon our jobs,” says Cloney. “We’re going to stay here and keep doing what we’re passionate about.”

Cloney says this pandemic is a big learning experience for many nurses at St. Boniface Hospital. Nurses have deeply compassionate hearts and will take care of people until this pandemic comes to an end.

“We’re dressing ourselves up for battle,” says Cloney. “And asking you to stay home for us.”

Thank you to our generous donors for supporting the nurses and staff at St. Boniface Hospital during this critical time. Your support does not go unnoticed. Join the COVID-19 response effort.