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FairfaxAs COVID rolls on, some health-care workers sustained by faith

As COVID rolls on, some health-care workers sustained by faith

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Registered nurses and Fairfax couple Frankie and Emilze Medrano got flashbacks when COVID-variant surges started around the country, taking them back to those anxious feelings of rushing to help patients struggling to breathe.

They, and many others like them, are exhausted from working through the pandemic. With successive variants straining short-staffed facilities across the country, some on the front lines of health care are experiencing added physical, mental and emotional stress.

“I do feel anxious, tired and stressed at times,” said Frankie Medrano, speaking during a period where COVID was on the rise, “but I take a moment at a time, and that helps me to not feel overwhelmed.”

What pulled them out of despair in the early phases of the pandemic continues to keep them afloat.


They credit their faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses for helping them and other health-care workers in their religious community endure the ongoing toll of the pandemic.

“Bible principles have helped me,” Emilze Medrano said. “They have become a little oasis that keeps me from focusing on negative feelings.”

They pray regularly and lean on fellow believers for support. Their family of faith mobilized with texts, cards, FaceTime and Zoom to help them get through the crises and not to give up.

“I was able to talk about what I was seeing at work, and it became therapeutic to express my feelings,” Frankie Medrano said. “They took a personal interest in what I was going through and I felt supported.”

American psychological and psychiatric associations, while not advocating or endorsing any specific religion, acknowledge the role spirituality and religious faith can play in coping with distress and trauma. Lawrence Onoda, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Mission Hills, Calif., noted some ways spirituality can help, including giving people “a positive hope and meaning toward life, comfort by looking for answers and strength from a higher power, and a collective shared experience of support and community.”

The Medranos find joy in passing along to others what has helped them. They join friends online to write or call people in the community with a message of hope from the Scriptures.

“I am able to consistently share something positive with others and that makes me happy,” Emilze Medrano said.

One resource they use is jw.org, the official Website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with its collection of practical articles like “How to Beat Pandemic Fatigue” and short, comforting videos such as “The Resurrection – Soon a Reality.”

“The Website provides a wealth of information,” Emilze Medrano said. “The videos, music and articles help me to step away and find something positive and comforting.”

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