by Gabrielle S. Martin
The Hingham Anchor is honored to highlight Anna Dupras, a nurse at South Shore Hospital. Dupras has seen first-hand what it's like at the frontlines of defense against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; we are grateful to share her experiences and perspectives through this interview.
Dupras grew up here in Hingham and continues to reside in town with her husband and their six-month-old Ray, who was born this April. Anna says she loves to go spinning and taking her son for long walks: "I think he might be one of the most-walked babies around town!"
What's your favorite local spot around town?
"My favorite local spots are Nona’s Homemade and Cycletown!" She says. "Throughout high school and college, I worked at Nona’s. I have a sweet tooth, so it's hard to stay away! Cycletown is my favorite spinning spot: the music, atmosphere, and instructors are amazing!"
Do you have a favorite restaurant and meal in Hingham?
"My husband and I love to go to Café Tosca. All of their pizzas are delicious!"
What's your favorite vacation spot for when you need a getaway?
"Growing up I always vacationed in East Orleans in Cape Cod; I have the best memories there! My husband and I got married last year at the house we always rented."
What song always boosts your mood?
"There are so many different songs I love; to pick a few, I would say 'Heaven' by Avicci, 'The Best' by Tina Turner, and 'Rise Up' by JoJo. A very random mix!"
What's one thing people may not know about you?
"I'm originally from Michigan and have moved around a few times before my family settled in Hingham. While the ocean is great, I do have a soft spot for the Great Lakes!"
If you had a different career, what would it be?
"I actually did have a different career before nursing," Anna admits. "I graduated from URI with a business degree and worked in marketing in New York City for three years. Sitting behind a desk was not for me! I always had a desire to be a nurse, so I moved home to Hingham and lived with my mom while I completed an accelerated nursing program."
When did you begin working with COVID patients?
"I was eight months pregnant in March of this year when COVID really hit South Shore Hospital," Dupras shares. "I decided to go out on maternity leave three weeks early because everything was so uncertain. I came back to SSH in July, [having missed] most of the 'COVID craziness,' as I like to call it."
She adds, "[But] COVID never truly went away, and I still see patients every shift who are either 'COVID rule-out' or 'COVID positive.'”
What is it like to be a COVID nurse?
"In a few words, it is exhausting, emotional, and nerve-wrecking." She describes, explaining: "We are caring for very sick people and at the same time trying to take care/protect ourselves from spreading COVID to other people around us."
How has your experience in this role changed over time?
"I have learned to adapt more. As a nurse, I think we wear many hats as it is; I think these past months have taught me
there is nothing I can’t or won’t do."
What is the most difficult part of your job?
"As a nurse, human interaction and compassion is essential in our role. Right now, we’re covered with masks and eyewear in every room, whether or not the patient is COVID-positive. In a COVID-positive room, we barely look like ourselves. The other day a patient asked to look at my badge up close so she could see my picture. It made me sad." Anna expresses.
What is the most rewarding?
"When you can make a patient feel comfortable and safe while being in the hospital. Many patients are afraid because they
are nervous they may contract COVID while they are admitted. A simple 'thank you' and a smile can really make a difference."
How do you unwind and decompress after a difficult day at work?
"I am a sucker for reality TV. I often sit on the couch and watch a mindless show where I don’t have to think! My husband is not a fan, but he’s good at quietly sitting and watching with me."